Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 70.
Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 70.
(NBC/The Associated Press, NBC/Reuters - image credit) Schitt's Creek won the Golden Globe for best television comedy on Sunday, shortly after star Catherine O'Hara captured the award for best actress for her portrayal of Moira Rose. Dan Levy — who co-created the show with his father, Eugene Levy — accepted the award remotely and paid homage to the Canadian cast and crew. "The incredible work you all did over these past six seasons have taken us to places we never thought possible, and we are so grateful to all of you for it," he said. "Thank you to the CBC and Pop TV for making the active choice to keep this show on the air and give it the time and space it needed to grow." The show topped fellow nominees Ted Lasso, The Great, The Flight Attendant and Emily in Paris. "This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the messages Schitt's Creek has come to stand for: the idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community," Dan Levy said. "In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year, the ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated." Earlier, O'Hara thanked Eugene and Dan Levy for creating "an inspiring, funny, beautiful family love story in which they let me wear 100 wigs and speak like an alien." "Thank you CBC for making this show in Canada," she said. Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy were each nominated for acting awards as well. Jason Sudeikis bested Eugene Levy for best actor in a television series for his role in Ted Lasso, John Boyega won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Small Axe over Dan Levy and Gillian Anderson's turn on The Crown earned her best supporting actress over Murphy. Schitt's Creek, which aired on CBC and Pop TV, ended its sixth and final season last April. The Ontario-shot show swept the comedy category at the Emmy Awards last fall. Nomadland wins 2 awards, Boseman honoured posthumously Nomadland won best drama film while its director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director at the Golden Globes. The film follows a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who leaves her small town to join a group of wanderers in the American West. Accepting the best picture award, Zhao paid tribute to all those who have been on difficult journeys, quoting a line from the film: "We don't say goodbye, we say see you down the road." Meanwhile, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won best movie, musical or comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his portrayal of the fictional journalist from Kazakhstan. In a major surprise, the Globe for best actress in a drama film went to Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day played the legendary jazz and blues singer in the biopic directed by Lee Daniels. A tearful and overwhelmed Day spoke through tears as she said she was "in the presence of giants," naming her fellow nominees Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand. Six months after his death at age 43, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic film for his final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman's widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award for her late husband, saying "he would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices." Through tears, Ledward added: "I don't have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love." In the Netflix film, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee who aims to launch himself with his own updated version of the songs of Ma Rainey, the powerhouse blues singer played by Viola Davis. Boseman, who starred in the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," died in August after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Anderson, Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin. O'Connor and Corrin portrayed Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. The Queen's Gambit, another Netflix show, won best limited series or TV movie and star Anya Taylor-Joy won best actress in a limited series. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, won her first Golden Globe in nearly three decades. Foster won the Globe for best supporting actress in a film for her role in The Mauritanian. Jane Fonda accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, praising the "community of storytellers" for their vital role in troubled times, and calling for greater diversity in Hollywood. The 83-year-old actor and activist, star of Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, On Golden Pond and 9 to 5, received the Globes' version of a lifetime achievement award, one of the few honorees to accept a Globe in person in Beverly Hills. The DeMille award honours "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Previous winners include Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Fonda's father Henry Fonda. The Fondas become the first parent and child to both receive the DeMille award. Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday at the Golden Globes for his storied career in television, saying he "could not feel more blessed." The 98-year-old still-working television legend, creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, is the third winner of the award that honours "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen." Hosts on different coasts Earlier, co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler began the pandemic-era award show by delivering a split-screen opening from separate coasts. With Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Fey in New York's Rainbow Room, the two did an initial gag where Fey reached out through the screen and stroked Poehler's hair. Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, opened the show from New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., respectively. When attendees would normally be streaming down the red carpet on Sunday evening, many stars were instead posing virtually. Regina King, resplendent in a dazzling dress, stood before her yawning dog. Carey Mulligan, nominated for Promising Young Woman, said from a London hotel room that she was wearing heels for the first time in more than a year. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama Minari (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. "She's the reason I made this film," said Chung. "Minari is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart. I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on," said Chung. Other awards included Pixar's Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for Trial of the Chicago 7. The film, a favourite to win best drama film at the Globes, was sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures last summer due to the pandemic. "Netflix saved our lives," said Sorkin. Issues in lead-up to show On a night when the organization that gives out the Golden Globes is facing condemnation for having no Black voting members, the night's first award went to a Black actor, with Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor in a film for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya's acceptance speech could not be heard from his location at first, and he jokingly shouted, "You did me dirty!" once the audio was restored. Kaluuya didn't mention the issue directly in his acceptance, though he praised the man he played to win the award, Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was was killed in an FBI raid in 1969. The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood's awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year's ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group. LISTEN | Why the Golden Globes' shady reputation persists: Fey took a shot at the organization in the show opening, explaining to the two small live audiences made up of first responders and essential workers that "the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 no Black journalists." This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah and Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes' best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice president Helen Hoehne. "We must have Black journalists in our organization."
YANGON, Myanmar — Security forces in Myanmar opened fire and made mass arrests Sunday as they sought to break up protests against the military’s seizure of power, and a U.N. human rights official said it had “credible information” that at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded. That would be the highest single-day death toll among protesters who are demanding that the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi be restored to power after being ousted by a Feb. 1 coup. About 1,000 people are believed to have been detained Sunday. “Deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku,” the U.N. Human Rights Office said in a statement referring to several cities, adding that the forces also used tear gas, flash-bang grenades and stun grenades. An Associated Press journalist was taken into police custody on Saturday morning while providing news coverage of the protests. The journalist, Thein Zaw, remains in police custody. The AP called for his immediate release. “Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution. AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw,” said Ian Phillips, AP vice-president for international news. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Myanmar also condemned the arrest. The Democratic Voice of Burma reported that as of 5 p.m. in Myanmar, there had been 19 confirmed deaths in nine cities, with another 10 deaths unconfirmed. The independent media company broadcasts on satellite and digital terrestrial television, as well as online. DVB counted five deaths in Yangon and two in Mandalay, the largest and second-largest cities. It registered five deaths in Dawei, a much smaller city in southeastern Myanmar that has seen tens of thousands of protesters nearly every day since the coup. Witnesses said Sunday’s march was also large and people were determined not to be driven off the streets. Confirming the deaths of protesters has been difficult amid the chaos and general lack of news from official sources, especially in areas outside Yangon, Mandalay and the capital of Naypyitaw. But in many cases, photos and video circulated showed circumstances of the killings and gruesome photos of bodies. The independent Assistance Association of Political Prisoners reported it was aware that about 1,000 people were detained Sunday, of whom they were able to identify 270. That brought to 1,132 the total number of people the group has confirmed being arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup. Gunfire was reported almost as soon the protests began Sunday morning in Yangon, as police also fired tear gas and water cannons while trying to clear the streets. Photos of shell casings from live ammunition used in assault rifles were posted on social media. Initial reports on social media identified one young man believed to have been killed. His body was shown in photos and videos lying on a sidewalk until other protesters carried him away. In Dawei, local media reported at least three people were killed during a protest march, supported by photos and video. Photos on social media showed one wounded man in the care of medical personnel. Before Sunday, there had been eight confirmed reports of killings linked to the army’s takeover, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the crackdown, calling the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” and expressed serious concern at the increase in deaths and serious injuries, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “The secretary-general urges the international community to come together and send a clear signal to the military that it must respect the will of the people of Myanmar as expressed through the election and stop the repression,” Dujarric said. U.S. officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the violence. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying the U.S. is “alarmed” by the violence and stands in solidarity with Myanmar people “who continue to bravely voice their aspirations for democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights." Washington has imposed sanctions on Myanmar because of the coup, and Sullivan said it would “impose further costs on those responsible,” promising details “in the coming days.” The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but the army blocked Parliament from convening and detained her and President Win Myint, as well as other top members of Suu Kyi’s government. On Sunday morning, medical students marched in Yangon near the Hledan Center intersection, which has become the gathering point for protesters who then fan out to other parts of the city. Videos and photos showed protesters running as police charged at them, and residents setting up makeshift roadblocks to slow their advance. Some protesters managed to throw tear gas canisters back at police. Nearby, residents were pleading with police to release those they picked up from the street and shoved into police trucks to be taken away. Dozens or more were believed to be detained. “The world is watching the actions of the Myanmar military junta, and will hold them accountable,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for New York-based Human Rights Watch. “Live ammunition should not be used to control or disperse protests and lethal force can only be used to protect life or prevent serious injury.” Security forces began employing rougher tactics on Saturday, taking preemptive actions to break up protests and making scores, if not hundreds, of arrests. Greater numbers of soldiers also joined police. Many of those detained were taken to Insein Prison in Yangon’s northern outskirts, historically notorious for holding political prisoners. According to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, as of Saturday, 854 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced at one point in relation to the coup, and 771 were being detained or sought for arrest. The group said that while it had documented 75 new arrests, it understood that hundreds of other people were also picked up Saturday in Yangon and elsewhere. The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Sunday to install support frames for new, high-efficiency solar panels arriving at the International Space Station later this year. NASA's Kate Rubins and Victor Glover put the first set of mounting brackets and struts together, then bolted them into place next to the station's oldest and most degraded solar wings. But the work took longer than expected, and they barely got started on the second set before calling it quits. Rubins will finish the job during a second spacewalk later this week. The spacewalkers had to lug out the hundreds of pounds of mounting brackets and struts in 8-foot (2.5-meter) duffle-style bags. The equipment was so big and awkward that it had to be taken apart like furniture, just to get through the hatch. Some of the attachment locations required extra turns of the power drill and still weren't snug enough, as indicated by black lines. The astronauts had to use a ratchet wrench to deal with the more stubborn bolts, which slowed them down. At one point, they were two hours behind. “Whoever painted this black line painted outside the lines a little bit," Glover said at one particularly troublesome spot. “We’ll work on our kindergarten skills over here,” Mission Control replied, urging him to move on. With more people and experiments flying on the space station, more power will be needed to keep everything running, according to NASA. The six new solar panels — to be delivered in pairs by SpaceX over the coming year or so — should boost the station’s electrical capability by as much as 30%. Rubins and Glover tackled the struts for the first two solar panels, due to launch in June. Their spacewalk ended up lasting seven hours, a bit longer than planned. “Really appreciate your hard work. I know there were a lot of challenges,” Mission Control radioed. The eight solar panels up there now are 12 to 20 years old — most of them past their design lifetime and deteriorating. Each panel is 112 feet (34 metres) long by 39 feet (12 metres) wide. Tip to tip counting the centre framework, each pair stretches 240 feet (73 metres), longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan. Boeing is supplying the new roll-up panels, about half the size of the old ones but just as powerful thanks to the latest solar cell technology. They’ll be placed at an angle above the old ones, which will continue to operate. A prototype was tested at the space station in 2017. Rubins' helmet featured a new high-definition camera that provided stunning views, particularly those showing the vivid blue Earth 270 miles (435 kilometres) below. “Pretty fantastic," observed Mission Control. Sunday’s spacewalk was the third for infectious disease specialist Rubins and Navy pilot Glover — both of whom could end up flying to the moon. They’re among 18 astronauts newly assigned to NASA’s Artemis moon-landing program. The next moonwalkers will come from this group. Last week, Vice-President Kamala Harris put in a congratulatory call to Glover, the first African American astronaut to live full time at the space station. NASA released the video exchange Saturday. “The history making that you are doing, we are so proud of you,” Harris said. Like other firsts, Glover replied, it won't be the last. “We want to make sure that we can continue to do new things,” he said. Rubins will float back out Friday with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to wrap up the solar panel prep work, and to vent and relocate ammonia coolant hoses. Glover and Noguchi were among four astronauts arriving via SpaceX in November. Rubins launched from Kazakhstan in October alongside two Russians. They’re all scheduled to return to Earth this spring. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Oil prices were up on Monday on rising optimism about COVID-19 vaccinations, a U.S. economic stimulus package and growing factory activity in Europe despite coronavirus restrictions. Signs that Chinese oil demand is slowing kept prices from moving higher. Brent crude rose 51 cents, or 0.8%, at $64.93 a barrel by 11:29 a.m. EST (1629 GMT), and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 28 cents, or 0.5%, to $61.78 a barrel.
NEW YORK — With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.” The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984. “'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you." With a cancelled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavour. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood. Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, formerly the Fox specialty label of “12 Years a Slave” and “The Shape of Water” now owned by the Walt Disney Co. Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star guerilla comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.” “I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," said Cohen. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series. Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award. “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.” Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's “Ted Lasso.” The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other. “I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.” They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said. In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” get his speech in. When he finally came through, he waged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!" Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Da 5 Bloods” — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Whether those statements — along with a diverse group of winners — did enough to remedy anything remained unclear. The moment the show ended, Time's Up sent letters to both the HFPA and NBCUniveral demanding more than lip service. “The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act,” wrote Tina Tchen, the group's president. COVID-19 circumstances led to some award-show anomalies. Mark Ruffalo, appearing remotely, won best actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much Is True” with his kids celebrating behind him and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, sitting alongside. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama “Minari" (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She's the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “'Minari' is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart," said Chung. “I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on." John Boyega, supporting actor winner for his performance in Steve McQueen's “Small Axe” anthology, raised his leg to show he was wearing track pants below his more elegant white jacket. Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") won one of the biggest surprise Globes, for best supporting actress in a film, while, sitting on the couch next her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and with her dog, Ziggy on her lap. Some speeches were pre-taped. The previously recorded speeches by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the wining “Soul" score went without hiccup even though presenter Tracy Morgan first announced “Sal" as the winner. Even if speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” Other awards included Pixar's “Soul” for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for “I Care a Lot"; Aaron Sorkin ("Trial of the Chicago 7") for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holiday") for best actress in a drama, besting Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"). As showtime neared, the backlash over the HFPA threatened to overwhelm the Globes. Yet the Globes have persisted because of their popularity (the show ranks as the third most-watched award show, after the Oscars and Grammys), their profitability (NBC paid $60 million for broadcast rights in 2018) and because they serve as important marketing material for contending films and Oscar hopefuls. The Academy Awards will be held April 25. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 and it has already begun to send back jaw-dropping images of the surrounding area.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo urged citizens of the West African state on Sunday to ignore conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus vaccines ahead of the launch of its nationwide inoculation campaign against the virus on Tuesday. "Taking the vaccine will not alter your DNA, it will not embed a tracking device in your body, neither will it cause infertility in women or in men," he said. Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines as part of the global COVAX scheme aimed at providing poorer nations vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RM of Moosomin commissioned 41,000 tonnes of gravel to be hauled for the Moosomin airport expansion project, but ended up with an additional 3,113 tonnes thanks to the donations of gravel and labour from the local contractors. In total $29,011.41 worth of gravel and labour were donated with Springer Construction donating $12,578.06, KCH Operating donating $2,854.99, Joel Poelzer donating $4,694.84, Kentrax Transport donating $6,233.85, and Rhino Dirtworks donating $2,649.67. “Everyone that helped is local,” said Jason Springer, owner of Springer Construction. “We’d been hauling for a couple weeks and wanted to do a little bit more. It was nice being close to home and doing something for the community—it helped that the weather was so nice.” The airport expansion plan began in 2018 with a need for a rebuilt runway, lighting, and navigation equipment to accommodate the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance. The new runway will run northwest-southeast in line with the prevailing winds. A new access road, taxiway, and apron will be built on the road allowance that the current runway is built on. The need for the airport expansion became clear with the centralization of health services in Saskatchewan, with stroke services and pediatric services being centralized in Saskatoon. With the only pediatric facility in the province, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, being located in Saskatoon it makes it difficult for time-efficient patient transfers for those under the age of 18. Another major factor in having access to the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance is the world class stroke unit at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. “We’re at a standstill with the project until additional funding falls into place,” said RM of Moosomin Administrator Kendra Lawrence. “There’s a few funding measures that we’re applying for and we’re just waiting on results back for those.” Moosomin is one of the 14 communities in Saskatchewan to receive CAP (Community Airport Partnership) funding for 2020-21. The other communities to receive funding for 2020-21 are Humboldt, Kindersley, Leader, RM of Eldon, Maple Creek, Melfort, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Rockglen, Swift Current, Unity, Weyburn and Wynyard Moosomin also received funding in 2019-20, 23 different communities have received funding over the last three years. Eight communities in Saskatchewan have received funding multiple times over the last three years—Moosomin, Kindersley, Humboldt, Melfort, North Battleford, Swift Current, Weyburn, and Yorkton. The funding is going towards the Moosomin airport expansion project. Eligible CAP applicants include regionally focused, community-owned airports. Eligibility for CAP should support: Economic development. Access to surrounding communities. Air ambulance and medevac operations. Commercial operations. Aviation safety. All CAP projects are subject to ministry approval. Moosomin is eligible to receive CAP funding again for 2021-22, the deadline for applications is February 24, 2021. Each year the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure awards $700,000 in total CAP funding among those communities that have received application approval—the most a single community can receive is $275,000. Since 2007, more than $7 million has been invested in community airports, and coupled with 50-50 matching community contributions, the program has generated over $14 million in airport improvements. A total of 50 different communities have benefited from the program since its inception. Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
(Enzo Zanatta/CBC - image credit) At least eight trees were spray-painted with racist graffiti in a park in Vancouver's Marpole neighbourhood on Saturday. The Vancouver Park Board said the trees were covered in swastikas and the slogan "White Power." In a statement, the Vancouver Park Board said it is "heartbroken and enraged" by the incident at Riverview Park. "The City of Vancouver and the park board condemn these abhorrent acts of racism in the strongest possible terms. We stand in solidarity with the Indigenous, Black, racialized and Jewish communities targeted by these messages," it read. "These messages are intended to create shock, fear and division." Some of the defaced trees are near a playground. It further expressed regret to anyone — including families and children accessing the nearby playground — who had to see the messages. "We acknowledge the park crews who are in the process of safely removing the hurtful graffiti. We also acknowledge this as an act of disrespect to the natural world on the Musqueam territory," it continued. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact 311.
Fundraising efforts for this year’s Coldest Night of the Year have surpassed expectations. The Orangeville Food Bank had set a goal to raise $65,000 through the virtual-only fundraiser Feb. 20. Instead, it brought in $77,544. “We crushed the goal,” said Savanaha O'Reilly, food manager for the Orangeville Food Bank. “We thought, since the pandemic, we wouldn’t get a good of a turnout as we have in the past with it being virtual, but the community as always has surprised us." About 249 walkers signed up, with 47 teams registered. The top three teams were the Care Bears, raising $7,450, Marching Marks with $5,690, and the Young and the Rest of Us contributing $4,627. The Care Bears represented Orangeville District Secondary School. “We had a lot of support from the schools, not just the food drive, but with Coldest Night of the Year now,” said O’Reilly. “They blew our minds, and we didn’t expect that at all.” Those registered could join in on a two-kilometre walk or a distanced five-kilometre walk covering most of the town. Adult walkers who raised $150 and children contributing $75 received a commemorative tuque as a sign of appreciation from the organization. Participants were encouraged to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger. The Orangeville food bank serves 700 people a month, 35 per cent of them children. “We have continued to see an increase in clients,” said “O’Reilly. “We are seeing people we haven’t seen before.” They state seniors continue to be the fastest-growing demographic each year. The organization receives no annual provincial or federal funding and is primarily supported by the community. Funds raised will support the food bank operations, including fresh food purchases, gardening programs, seniors' markets, food packages for children, and the community food share initiative. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Branden Grace closed eagle-birdie Sunday to win the Puerto Rico Open, an emotional triumph following his father's January death after a month-long fight with the coronavirus. Grace holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle on the par-4 17th and birdied the par-5 18th for a one-stroke victory over Jhonattan Vegas at windy Grand Reserve. “This morning I had a tear in the car when I was talking to my wife,” Grace said about father Peter. “It was an emotional day. I thought about him a hell of a lot out there, especially the last tee shot. I was really struggling the last hole, because I knew he was watching over me. I knew he was guiding me." The 32-year-old South African player won for the second time on the PGA Tour and 13th worldwide, closing with a 6-under 66 to finish at 19-under 269. “It’s been a very tough couple of years and a tough couple of months and it’s just nice to — obviously, with all the support back home with my wife and my son and my family and everybody back home,” Grace said. “And all that we have been through, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.” Vegas, from Venezuela, birdied the 18th in a 65. Puerto Rican player Rafael Campos and Grayson Murray, tied for the third-round lead, each shot 70 to tie for third at 16 under. Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., finished in a tie for 22nd at 10-under 278. Fellow Canadian Taylor Pendrith finished in a tie for 53rd with a 4-under 284. Michael Gilgic finished in a tie for 63 with a 2-under 286. Grace drove into the right bunker on the 17th, the hole playing 300 yards to the front of the green with the tees moved well forward. “That was a tough bunker shot,” Grace said. “And to play it perfectly, just get it with just enough check and managed to get it to roll out and 5 or 6 feet to go, I knew it was in. So, that was obviously fortunate.” He also hit into a greenside bunker on 18, flopped out to 6 feet and made the winning putt. “The only thing you can’t do on 18 is hit it left,” Grace said. “I managed to hit a great drive, and I wasn’t going to go left. I pulled my second. And I knew if I could get it maybe front edge or in the bunker, then I’m going to give myself opportunity. And fortunately I was in the second bunker, so I could really just get it up on the slope and just get it to run out a little bit and manage to play perfectly.: The tournament was played opposite the World Golf Championship event in Florida. Grace earned a two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot in the PGA Championship in May, but not the Masters in April. Campos had his third top-10 finish in his home event. He tied for eighth in 2016 and tied for 10th in 2017. He parred the final three after rebounding from bogeys on 10 and 11 with birdies on 12, 13 and 15. “I can seal the deal. I know I can,” Campos said. “It just didn’t happen today. I didn’t have my best game out here, but I still managed to give myself a real opportunity of winning the tournament. I think it’s just getting myself more opportunities and it will happen eventually.” Needing an eagle to catch Grace on 18 after birdieing 17, Murray hooked his drive into the trees, took an unplayable lie and made a bogey. Brice Garnett (65 ) and Andrew Putnam (69) were 15 under. The Associated Press
La Ville de Sept-Îles a annoncé ce matin la fermeture de ses glaces extérieurs pour la journée, en raison du temps doux. Ceci sera temporaire, puisque déjà, demain, un Avertissement de tempête hivernale a été émis par Environnement Canada. Alors qu’en ce dernier jour de février la température tournera autour de 0 dégré, de lundi à mardi, Environnment Canada prévoit entre 20 et 40 centimèetres de neige, des vents forts, et de la poudrerie pour le secteur de Baie-Trinité, ainsi que Port-Cartier et Sept-Îles. Les vents pourraient atteindre 80 km/h. Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
The mayor of Auckland called for residents to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccines after New Zealand's biggest city was thrown into its fourth pandemic lockdown over the weekend. The seven-day lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on a city of 2 million was prompted by just a single new COVID-19 case, reinforcing the New Zealand leader's strict "go hard, go early" response throughout the crisis. That approach has been credited with making New Zealand one of the most successful countries in the world at controlling the spread of the coronavirus, but the latest shutdown has been criticised by some on social media.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Officials in Prince Edward Island have placed the province under a 72-hour lockdown starting at 12 a.m. Monday after multiple new infections and two clusters of COVID-19 emerged on the island over the weekend. The "modified red alert" period will see schools and most non-essential businesses close for three days and require islanders to practice physical distancing with anyone outside their immediate household, with exceptions for people who live alone or require essential support. "We would rather go harder and stronger now than wait for an outbreak like we have seen in other provinces that could put us in an extended period of lockdown for weeks or even months," Premier Dennis King said late Sunday during a briefing with reporters. The restrictions were announced as health officials reported five new COVID-19 infections, for a total of 17 cases in the past five days. Along with the new diagnoses comes a growing number of close-contact and potential exposure sites at places like fast-food restaurants and retail stores. Two COVID-19 clusters have been identified in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown and many of the new infections cannot be linked to travel, officials said. "We have two clusters of cases that are in our community and we do not have a source," chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison said. "However, they all appear to be linked to each other. We are not seeing widespread community transmission at this point in time." The three-day lockdown will allow public health officials to undertake comprehensive contact tracing and ramp up testing, she said. "We need to get our arms around these clusters of cases and make sure it has not spread into any kind of widespread community transmission," Morrison added. The short-term lockdown was announced as more moderate "circuit-breaker measures" took effect in an effort to curb the spike in infections. Those restrictions included limiting gatherings to a household plus a consistent circle of 10 contacts, banning tournaments but allowing sports practices to continue, and limiting gyms and retail stores to half their normal capacity. Those measures will remain in force until March 14, while the lockdown is expected to be lifted Thursday. But if new cases emerge over the coming days that are not linked to the two clusters, or if new infections continue to rise, Morrison said it's possible the lockdown could be extended. The new infections recorded on Sunday include two males, both in their 20s, and three females, two in their 20s and one in her 50s. The province reported six new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, all among patients in their 20s. "Until we are able to confirm otherwise, we need to act as if this is a variant," King said, referring to virus mutations of concern that have surfaced across the country. "What we know is that the variants move and spread quickly, therefore we need to move quickly as well and do our best to get caught up." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
Students at McNaughton High School in Moosomin are being offered the opportunity to further their knowledge when it comes to financial literacy through the Financial Literacy 20 course being offered for the first time this semester. From loans to credit scores, teachers Paul Stillman and Tegan Matichuk are helping students in Grade 11 and 12 prepare for adult life. “It’s looking at how we can make our knowledge and understanding not just the mathematics side of finance, but more so moving into the decision making and goal-setting sides of finance,” Matichuk explained. “We’re looking to give kids a bit of a foundation into things like credit, and investing and saving, and even a little bit into the idea of renting versus owning.” She says the course is not just informing kids through a curriculum, but also answering the questions the students might have. She noted that the students have asked many questions about saving and long term financing for items such as vehicles and houses. “It’s not that it’s never been taught, but it’s hard for students to take the mathematics of finance, which has been taught since grade 9 where we calculated interest,” she explained. “The mathematics has always been taught, but we’re expanding that and looking into how it impacts your wellness and your lifestyle.” She added that in the course they not only just talk about the numbers involved when it comes to finances, but also how it might impact your mental health as well as ways to work around that impact. Matichuk noted a difference in questions being asked between the Grade 11 class and the Grade 12 class. She noted the Grade 12 class asking questions about the immediate future, about paying for college or university while the Grade 11 class focused more on questions regarding loans for vehicles or for houses. The course not only covers finances themselves, but also dips its toes into the potential careers based around financial jobs, according to Matichuk. “We’ve kind of sat down and did a bit of surveying with our students to see which areas and which modules they were wanting to learn the most about,” Matichuk explained. After having surveyed the class, the students expressed the most interest in investing and saving with budgeting being another large concern of theirs. Matichuk explained that thanks to the survey, they are more well prepared with what they need to teach their students. So far around 44 stu sdents have signed up for the course, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they have had to split the class in two with one half being taught by Matichuk and the other half being taught by Stillman. “We’ve divided for a couple of reasons. Because of our COVID protocols we’re keeping our Grade 11 students together and our Grade 12 students in Mr Stillman’s class,” Matichuk added. Despite being the same course, Matichuk notes that they are two completely different classes due to the difference in concerns between the Grade 11 class and the Grade 12 class. “It does give a different perspective, because Grade 12 are five months potentially from moving away from home, going to university, or joining the work-force full time,” she said. This is the first semester the Financial Literacy 20 course has been made available. Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
One of the town’s timeless traditions returns for the first time this year on March 6. The Orangeville Winter Farmer’s Market is scheduled to be held at the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre’s B-rink at 6 Northmen Way to allow for expand social distancing. This is not a permanent move. They will be downtown again. “People are trying to support the market,” said Alison Scheel, general manager of the Orangeville Business Improvement Area (OBIA). “ (Online orders) grow steadily every market Saturday. It started slow, but it picked up.” The B-rink location offers plenty of space for safe social distancing and can accommodate 50 people at one time. It will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday. Products include maple syrup, honey, falafels, cheese, bread, lamb meat, chicken, baked goods and prepared meals. The market was once held downtown near town hall, where vendors attracted mainly casual shoppers who happened to live nearby. It will return. The market was closed in January and February because of the mandated governmental shutdown. They were still providing preorder and pickup options for interested customers. Scheel said they average about 300 to 350 people every market Saturday as it is only held two times a month. The entrance to the market is located south of the parking lot. There will be no access through the main door. Most vendors will attend every other market, but some will alternate or change from market to market. Scheduled vendors include Bennington Hills Farm, Rasmi’s Falafel and Wild Culture Ferments, along with others. They will all be positioned at least 10 feet apart. “Customers leave their contact information at the door for contact tracing purposes,” said Scheel. “Everyone in the building has to wear a mask, and the vendor has to distance.” Organizers will not permit customers to touch the products or produce, as most items will be pre-bagged. For more information, visit www.downtownorangeville.ca and click on the farmers' market tab. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
Most years across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, the spring and summer are filled with rodeo events over the weekend. In 2020, rodeos all across Canada were cancelled due to Covid-19. For the first time in over 100 years, the Calgary Stampede was cancelled as a result of the pandemic, but for the time being it’s set to take place in 2021. Along with the Stampede, other rodeos could be back this year too. The Canadian Cowboys Association is Canada’s largest semi-pro and pro rodeo association and has been around since 1963, promoting rodeos—it consists of 900 members. It sanctions events across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia—including seven major events and five optional, novice, and junior events per year—and draws over 850,000 spectators from the Western U.S., Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and all over Canada. In 2020, it had to cancel its entire slate of events—the Canadian Cowboys Association sanctions over 50 rodeo events in prairie communities. Every fall it hosts its Championship Finals in Swift Current and has thousands of spectators. The unknowns around what comes next with the pandemic and provincial guidelines will mean nothing is set in stone, but the Canadian Cowboys Association is preparing as if there will be a season and remains hopeful events can run, even if they’re at a lesser extent. “We’re being hopeful that rodeos will happen this year and what we’re looking at is if rodeos will be able to run as outdoor events with spectators,” said Lenora Bells of the Canadian Cowboys Association. “With the rodeos that are indoors, we’re looking at the possibility of switching them to outdoors so that they can have spectators. “This is all of course only if the Covid-19 guidelines will allow us to hold these outdoors. We’re being cautiously optimistic. We’ve been in touch with our rodeo communities—we have about 50 of them—and we’ve been communicating with the committees that are in charge of the rodeo events. “About half of them have gotten back to us that they plan to go ahead with an outdoor venue as long as they can have at least 100 spectators and they’re hoping that the government and the health authority will look into increasing that. We’re just hoping that there will be more flexibility for the outdoor events. “Right now the decision for the seven months is coming from the health authority hopefully before the end of February and we’ll go from there. I know that the communities, and even us as an association, are looking at our partnerships and sponsorships in anticipation of rodeos going ahead and we’re also planning to go ahead with the finals in October in Swift Current.” The importance of rodeo events across communities in the prairies cannot be underestimated, they help the local economy by driving more business into town. Bells says they’re working to ensure all communities are able to host some sort of event as long as the guidelines allow and they’re ready to adjust venues and shift dates if need be. “Our board has met a couple times already over this and we just continue to plan for having rodeos,” she said. “It would be great to have all of them happen. We have two that happen in April that are indoors and they’re looking at just rescheduling to a different date later in the summer. “So there might be some rescheduling happening too so the communities can have rodeos and some kind of festival to gather the community together. They’re definitely big for these communities—our subcontractors, our judges, our pickup men, our secretaries, everybody is just chomping at the bit to get out there.” Bells thinks it’s important for the Canadian Cowboys Association to try and do something this year if they’re able to because even if it’s a smaller rodeo, it’s better than nothing and people haven’t been able to look forward to local events in a long time. She says some communities have even begun prepping for their yearly rodeo as they remain hopeful the spring and summer will bring a safer atmosphere. “Some of the communities are already selling, not tickets to the rodeo, but they’re having fundraisers,” she said. “Some of the communities are doing that where you can buy a raffle ticket and win something. I know some communities are starting to do that. We’re keeping in touch with the communities and we have social media to keep up with. “We encourage all our communities and members to follow our social media—we have over 600 cowgirl and cowboy members, subcontractors, etc.—and this can keep everybody up to date. So we encourage everybody to keep an eye on that and continue to be optimistic that even if it’s at a smaller scale, we can still plan on something happening. Everybody is ready to get together, but in a safe way so that’s what we’re figuring out.” It’s not an easy task for the Canadian Cowboys Association to plan rodeos and guide communities in four different provinces through this because of the unknowns ahead. There’s a few months until the season begins, but there’s no way of knowing what travel restrictions and numbers for gatherings will look like for each province. Still, Bells doesn’t think it would do any good to wait around to hear what they might be able to do in the coming months, they’d rather plan and ensure if they can do something then they will. She says for those in the rodeo community, communication is key as they move forward and encourages people to stay posted for updates through their social media channels. “What we’re doing is planning like we’re having a season so the planning process is happening,” she said. “For the dates of the rodeos, we’ll be going from last season’s dates—which now would be the 2019 dates—we’ll be posting those again on our website so people can see where the rodeos might be happening. If people want to look at that previous schedule, they can judge where and when rodeos might be happening.” https://www.world-spectator.com Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
TORONTO — Ontario has expanded the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness, its largest municipality announced on Sunday as the province eclipsed 300,000 total infections since the onset of the global pandemic. The city of Toronto said it received word over the weekend that the province had added homeless people to the list of those who qualify for a jab under Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout plan. Shelter-system residents will accordingly start receiving their initial vaccine doses this week, the city said in a release. "People experiencing homelessness are at elevated risk of serious health impacts due to COVID-19 and are vulnerable to transmission in congregate settings," Toronto Board of Health Chair and city Coun. Joe Cressy said in the statement. "By updating their vaccination prioritization plan, the province has made it possible for the city and our hospital and health care partners to help keep those most at risk in our communities safe." Ontario's ministry of health had previously stated that homeless residents would not be eligible for a vaccine until the inoculation drive entered its second phase. The city did not provide a timeline for when the provincial guidance changed, and the ministry did not immediately respond to request for comment on Sunday. Toronto said local health officials and its shelter support and housing administration would identify shelters at the highest risk of contracting the virus, but did not spell out their criteria. Advocates had been pushing for homeless residents to move up the vaccine queue for weeks, citing their significantly higher rates of mental and health afflictions relative to the general public as well as difficulties they face in observing basic public health protocols in an overtaxed shelter system. Dr. Andrew Bond, medical director of the homeless-oriented health clinic Inner City Health Associates, said shelters are akin to long-term care homes where the virus has historically taken hold quickly. A major difference, Bond said, is that unlike the "captive audience" of a long-term care home, those living in shelters leave every day to get food, see doctors and other health-care professionals. The presence of new COVID-19 variants of concern in the city, he said, only compounds the issue. "As people come and go from the shelter into the community, the variant will propagate into the wider community, if it hasn't already," Bond said. "It’s really in everybody's interest here to vaccinate those experiencing homelessness." Bond's organization issued a tweet on Sunday applauding the province's decision to start immunizing homeless residents. The original plan from the province saw shelter workers to be vaccinated in the first phase while shelter residents were slated for Phase 2. That two-tier system drew widespread criticism among homeless advocates. "It makes absolutely no sense, and I'm not being facetious, it just literally makes no sense to me," Bond said of the original inoculation timeline. "The only effective way to control outbreaks is to vaccinate simultaneously all of those individuals in the shelter system, whether they work or live there." A COVID-19 variant believed to be one first identified in the United Kingdom has also highlighted the challenges the homeless face when needing to self-isolate. One outbreak linked to the variant has ripped through the Maxwell Meighen Centre in downtown Toronto, with at least 31 people being infected. A man who lives at the facility said proper isolation inside the shelter is impossible due to regular intermingling and shared bathrooms. The man, who did not want to be identified for fear of recriminations from staff, said everyone staying at the centre has to leave their rooms from 8 a.m. until noon. The Salvation Army, which operates Maxwell Meighan, said people do have to leave the shelter during those hours so their rooms can be cleaned. The situation is not unique to one facility, according to one social worker. "Every shelter I've called has told me that they're on outbreak status and they're closed to new admissions," Sarah Ovens said. "There is nowhere to go where they will feel safe and be able to actually isolate, both to keep themselves safe and to keep other people safe." The move to vaccinate the homeless comes after Ontario reported 1,062 new infections and 20 more deaths linked to the virus on Sunday. Those figures pushed the province's overall virus case count to 300,816 infections over the course of the pandemic, making it the highest in the country. The province is also poised to record 7,000 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, with 6,980 recorded as of Sunday. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto saw 259 new infections in the past 24 hours, nearby Peel Region recorded 201 and York Region logged 86. Hospitalizations in the province declined by 53 to 627, with 289 patients in intensive care and 185 on a ventilator. The figures come a day before several public health units in the province are set to change status. Seven are set to relax protective public health measures, while Thunder Bay and Muskoka Simcoe are set to move into the lockdown stage of the provincial pandemic response plan amid rising case numbers. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
Canada's COVID-19 hotspots showed diverging approaches to handling the crisis on Sunday, as Ontario and Prince Edward Island prepared for new lockdowns while Quebec entered a week of spring break complete with some activities meant to ease the monotony of life during a global pandemic.Prince Edward Island announced it was entering a 72-hour lockdown starting at midnight as the province struggled to contain an outbreak of COVID-19.The short-term public health order was announced as officials reported five new infections of the disease in a province that has seen few cases for most of the pandemic. The Island has now recorded 17 new infections over the past five days. Health officials identified two clusters of COVID-19 in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown, and said it’s possible the island has community spread of the virus. The province has a total of just 132 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.The three-day lockdown requires residents to stay home as much as possible and will close all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, with post-secondary education moving online only."We would rather go harder and stronger now than wait for an outbreak like we have seen in other provinces that could put us in an extended period of lockdown for weeks or even months," Premier Dennis King said late Sunday during a briefing with reporters.Ontario, meanwhile, passed the 300,000 case mark on Sunday as the government prepared to hit a so-called 'emergency brake' in two northern public health units grappling with surging case numbers.The Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka District health units will enter the lockdown phase of the province's pandemic response plan on Monday in order interrupt transmission of COVID-19 at a time when new variants are gaining steam.The province has also pushed back its spring break until April in an effort to limit community spread.Quebec, in contrast, has allowed movie theatres, pools and arenas to open with restrictions in place to give families something to do as the traditional winter break kicks off, even as most other health rules remain in place.The province opted to allow students and teachers the traditional March break, even though Premier Francois Legault has said he's worried about the week off and the threat posed by more contagious virus variants. Quebec's health minister said the situation in the province was stable on Sunday, with 737 new cases and nine additional deaths — even as confirmed cases linked to variants of concern jumped by more than 100 to 137.Most of the variant cases have been identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first identified in the United Kingdom, including 84 in Montreal.Ontario, meanwhile, reported 1,062 new infections linked to the pandemic on Sunday as it became the first province to record more than 300,000 total cses of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.The country's chief public health officer urged Canadians on Sunday to continue following public health measures as a way of buying critical time as vaccine programs ramp up."Aiming to have the fewest interactions with the fewest number of people, for the shortest time, at the greatest distance possible is a simple rule that we can all apply to help limit the spread of COVID-19," Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.Canada's immunization program received a boost last week with the approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine, raising hopes that provinces will be able to inoculate their most vulnerable populations before the more contagious variants can fully take hold.Toronto announced Sunday that it was expanding the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness, noting that they have a higher risk of serious health impacts due to COVID-19 and are vulnerable to transmission in congregate settings.Quebec, meanwhile, is set to begin vaccination of the general population on Monday, beginning with seniors 80 and over in the Montreal area, or 85 and over in the rest of the province.While some regions with extra doses began administering shots late last week, the pace of inoculation will ramp up on Monday when mass vaccination clinics in Montreal throw open their doors.Case counts were more stable elsewhere in the country. Manitoba reported just 50 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday and two new virus-related deaths, while Saskatchewan saw its overall tally climb by 181 but did not log any new deaths.Alberta reported three new virus-related deaths and 301 new infections, including 29 identified as variants of concern. In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia logged three new cases while officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported seven. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
At the regular Esterhazy Town Council meeting on Wednesday, a motion was passed to use the Sask Lotteries Grant of $1,500—if it meets the criteria—towards staffing and costs for a future hockey academy program through PJ Gillen School. The Good Spirit School Division is currently working on a proposal to run a hockey academy through the school at Dana Antal Arena. It would be a part of the curriculum. “It’s a proposal that’s been verbally submitted to us saying that they would like to do this,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We want to review our current policy that we have for joint use of school facilities and town facilities.” The school currently uses the D.A. Mackenzie Aquatic Centre as part of a school swimming program and the rink for open skating. This program would be hockey specific. “I want to make sure the agreement we have in place can accommodate all kids,” said Councillor Randy Bot. “All kids can swim and it gives every kid the same opportunity. Hockey isn’t necessarily the same because it targets only certain kids, does this give every kid the same opportunity?” The proposal of entering into an agreement with the school is still in preliminary talks and there’s more to be sorted out about the details and how the program would run and be offered, but it would be a part of the school. “We need to look at this with the school because it’s not an extracurricular activity,” said Rec Director Brenda Redman. “It would be through the school.” “We need to take a look at the agreement and talk to a representative from the school to come up with an agreement together,” said Mayor Grant Forster. “We need to do more work and come back to this.” The council was in agreement that the next step is having Thorley and Redman talk with the school to figure out exactly what the agreement and program could look like before this goes further. “We’re going to review the entire agreement,” said Thorley. “It was back in 2014 when our community was a little bit more in co-ordinating baseball and other things in town so we did a lot more on the grounds of the school and we don’t do as much now. “When there was programs like volleyball that needed the gyms in the evening, that’s when the agreement was made, back in 2014. “We don’t use their facilities as much, but we’d also like to open those doors to make sure we have the option to do that and have a joint policy. We’ll review this and talk with the Good Spirit School Division so we can look at the entire agreement all together and make sure we can refine it.” Minor hockey and figure skating to continue With the recent announcement from Premier Scott Moe that the current Covid-19 restrictions will stay in place until at least February 19, Esterhazy minor hockey and figure skating plan to continue practicing within the current restrictions at Dana Antal Arena. “Minor hockey has said they will run until the end of February,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Figure skating is hoping to run until the end of the season as best they can within the restrictions and they’ll try to make up sometime they’ve lost in some areas. “We also have a private user that’s looking to rent for the month of March and they would basically pick up minor hockeys times. So we can continue to keep the arena open until the end of March for sure.” Council remuneration A motion was passed by the council to adjust council remuneration to a monthly rate rather than by a per-meeting rate. Councillors will now receive a $600 per month remuneration with a $25 per month car allowance. The reason for this change is to allow more flexibility when it comes to sitting on committees. Now more councillors will have the opportunity to sit on different committees without a cost to the town. “We did an internal survey to see what costs were for councillor remuneration for the last eight years,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Every time someone goes to a committee meeting they get paid around $88 and every time they come to a council meeting they get $200, so throughout the year depending on which committees you sit on, you get a certain amount of dollars. “We took the average of it all and felt comfortable with it. Now it allows us to move people around on committees and provides us more flexibility to add people or remove people from committees. It’s more flexible, cost-effective, and keeps everybody on the same page.” Yearly operating rates The council passed a motion to accept some yearly operating rates. They didn’t pass landfill operating rates and will return to it. Yearly custom rates will increase by 15 per cent, office miscellaneous rates won’t change, and there will be an increase to $30 for dog and cat licenses. “Yearly custom rates are if someone wants to rent our sander for an hour, those types of rates went up 15 per cent,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Office rates are for things like photocopying, and with the pet licenses we’re hoping to put some of that money into things like the dog park. “Anyone that has paid the dog and cat licenses to date right now won’t be asked to pay more because this was passed after that point. We’re going to review the landfill because we’re looking at potentially putting a scale in it.” Golder Associates awarded tender The council passed a motion to award a tender of up to $20,000 to Golder Associates for a climate lens assessment at the water treatment plant. “Under our water treatment plant we have two stipulations that we have to complete as part of the funding,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “It’s a climate lens assessment that has to be completed for provincial and federal government regulations. Basically the governments say we need to do this because we’re doing work so our engineer put it out for tender and we received about eight of them. “We then did a pretty comprehensive evaluation and Golder Associates was the choice. So we’re spending up to $20,000 within a contingency of items.” Airport hangar lease The council passed a motion to enter into a three-year agreement to lease the airport hangar for $600 per year. “We have leases for up to three years and we have about four or five buildings we have leases on,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We were recently informed the hangar was sold, and we don’t own the hangar, but we own the land it’s on so we lease the land to them. The new owner has engaged in a three-year lease with us.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator