Upcoming Indian rapper IKKA hoping to "Level Up" with his latest track, featuring DIVINE and Kaater. (Oct. 26)
Upcoming Indian rapper IKKA hoping to "Level Up" with his latest track, featuring DIVINE and Kaater. (Oct. 26)
SCUGOG: Scugog councillors have decided not to send their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality, opposing a motion intended to lessen the tax impact on the community. At a meeting on Monday, November 23rd, Regional Councillor Wilma Wotten made a motion to have “council members support the donation of their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality to reduce the 2021 tax impact for Scugog Township.” The motion noted how the COVID-19 pandemic “continues to negatively impact economic realities for residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and charities.” Councillor Wotten explained why she decided to go this route instead of recommending a wage freeze. “I feel firmly we would be moving backwards if we were to do a full freeze. Originally I thought it would be good to donate it to a charity of choice, but I think it is better to donate it back to the township, so it can go into our revenue,” she said, adding this money would go towards all taxpayers in Scugog, rather than one charity. Ward 4 Councillor Deborah Kiezebrink supported Councillor Wotten’s motion. “I really appreciate Councillor Wotten’s heart and her thoughts. These have been extremely difficult and painful times for so many people. It’s hard because the services the township has to provide cost more. We’re all affected by this,” she said. But, the majority of councillors rejected the motion. “I’m one of those people who [doesn’t] have a problem donating back, but I’d like to donate back to the community by donating the money to the food bank. These are lean times for all of us, and especially for food banks and especially here in Scugog,” Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown said. Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross said this motion does not do enough to help the community. “I support council giving back to the community 100 per cent, but I don’t support this motion because I don’t believe it actually gives back to the community. I think it is a gesture, and that’s fine and I think [there are] times for gestures, how be it though I don’t think this is time for one,” he said. Scugog finance staff estimated the collective wage increase to be about $4,128. Councillor Wotten stated it would be improper for one councillor to decide what one charity these combined funds should be donated to. “How do we choose which one is more important?” she said. Councillor Wotten’s motion failed four to two. Councillors were instead encouraged to give back to charities of their choice. “I know this year I have stepped up my contributions to different organizations, especially in town, and I would just encourage everyone to do the same,” Mayor Bobbie Drew said.Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
Quebec is tightening the health guidelines for stores and malls for the holiday shopping season in an attempt to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said Wednesday she wants Quebecers to be able to shop for loved ones in a safe environment.The measures include: * A maximum capacity of customers based on floor space available to customers. The capacity must be displayed at the front of the store or shopping mall. * Signs about distancing rules to ensure compliance while shopping and waiting in line. * Clear markings so that shoppers can more easily navigate the store.Guilbault acknowledged that many shopping venues already have these measures in place. But she said those that don't risk being fined up to $6,000 or closed altogether.She said police and workplace safety inspectors would increase their presence in shopping districts during the holiday period.The province reported a record 1,514 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic, along with 43 deaths.Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's public health director, said earlier this week that shopping malls have not been a major driver of COVID-19 outbreaks but he said stricter guidelines would ensure that remains the case.
Two seniors in Windsor-Essex have died due to COVID-19, the local health unit reported Wednesday.The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said the two deaths were a man in his 90s who was living in a long-term care home and a woman in her 80s."We have lost 82 people to COVID-19," health unit CEO Theresa Marentette said, adding that 56 deaths have occurred in retirement and long-term care homes.There were 41 newly diagnosed cases announced Wednesday, bringing the cumulative total to 3,740. About 11 per cent — 410 cases — are currently active.Fifteen people are in hospital, with two in the intensive care unit.Of the 41 cases announced across the region, 13 are close contacts of a confirmed case, one is community acquired and 27 are still under investigation. There are 18 outbreaks in the community, including seven at workplaces. * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.Two community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.There are five long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak: * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with one staff case. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
TORONTO — A coalition of about 50 retailers is calling on the Ontario government to lift COVID-19 restrictions for non-essential stores it claims is making things worse.In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott, the retailers argue that shutting down Toronto and Peel Region to restrict the virus's spread hasn't reduced the number of shoppers.Instead, consumers are funnelled into fewer, crowded stores and adjacent communities, which potentially creates greater health risk.The retailers say the current policy pushes more consumers to big-box and discount stores that remain open after being deemed essential, while thousands of small, independent and local stores are closed despite selling many of the same products.They say they have been forced to lay off workers instead of employing thousands of temporary people to handle the holiday sales rush.The business leaders are calling on the government to immediately open all retail stores in the province and impose a 25 per cent capacity limit on non-essential stores in lockdown regions."Large and small retailers need each other to create a vibrant retail ecosystem," said the letter signed by the heads of companies including Hudson's Bay, Canadian Tire, Birks and Ikea."Collectively, we are asking that you join with us in common cause and a shared commitment to keeping Ontario families safe and secure through this extraordinarily challenging period."The provincial government responded by noting the restrictions are aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians.Alexandra Hilkene, a spokeswoman for Elliott, said the government must limit opportunities for individuals to have close contact with others to help stop the spread of the virus.This includes allowing box stores to operate at half capacity."These necessary measures are being taken to limit community transmission of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province's most vulnerable populations," Hilkene wrote in an email Tuesday."To be clear, moving regions into a lockdown is not a measure this government takes lightly. However, as we have seen around the world, lockdowns are a difficult but necessary step to stop the spread, safeguard the key services we rely on and protect our health system capacity."She noted that the Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CTC.A)The Canadian Press
The Canadian government will be providing more than $1.5 billion to "accelerate" lifting all long-term drinking water advisories on Indigenous reserves, announced Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller on Wednesday. He said this is a "long-term" commitment and does not have an exact time frame on when all advisories will end.
Councillor Goelbel Absent, Councillor Watson Participated by Phone Discussion on Recent COVID-19 Restrictions Lead by CAO Bill Lewis, Council discussed the recently announced COVID-19 health restrictions. Here are some highlights as to how these restrictions affect Swan Hills: · There had been some confusion about when the restrictions would be in place, with some people in town thinking that all of the restrictions were effective on Nov 27. CAO Lewis clarified that the restrictions on social gatherings were effective immediately across the province. · Local non-profit organization board meetings are classified as work or mutual support groups and can continue going forward, as long as health measures such as social distancing are followed. · The town pool and arena are already following the guidelines for our area and can continue to operate going forward, but this will change if Swan Hills becomes an enhanced status area. The pool and arena cannot be privately rented at this time. · The Community Club is going to close until the New Year due to the ban on social gatherings. · Swan Hills is not under any provincial masking requirements at this time. · In regards to Lite Up, the direction from AHS is that Lite Up can proceed as planned but it is very important for people to remain in their vehicles when visiting Santa. If people come out of their vehicles and begin to crowd around Santa, the event must end immediately. Budget Review and Discussion Cao Bill Lewis gave an extremely thorough review of the proposed budget for 2021. The proposed budget will be very lean due to attempting to balance significant losses in revenue with increased costs in some areas of expenditures. After discussing these issues, Council voted to table approving the budget until the next Town Council meeting. The Grizzly Gazette will be able to report on the 2021 budget in greater detail once it has been finalized for the next Council meeting. CAO Report · A pre-project meeting with the Fire Chief, Forestry, and Blue ridge Lumber was held on Nov 24th regarding the Fire Guard project. · Staff worked on preparations for the modified Christmas Lite Up event. · A Tax Auction was held on Nov 17th. · Had a conference call with the Premier, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Minister of Finance, and the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding COVID-19 on Nov 18th. · Met with Sea Hawk Consulting (the group doing the Emergency Management Regional Audit). · Working on 2021 Budget preparation. · Working on the 5-year Capital Plan and 3-year operating plan. · Working on the new website upgrade. · Preparing for the strategic planning session with Community Futures Yellowhead East. · Working on the Municipality Accountability Program (MAP) Audit preparation. Operations and Infrastructure · The Flash Mixer at the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is still awaiting parts. · Waiting for the Reservoir Fire Water Pump motor replacement. Hoping to get a start date for this project for early December. · The sewage lift station pump that is currently out for service should be back in the first week of December. When it returns, the second pump will be sent out to be serviced as well. · There was a heater failure in the sewage lift station. A heater that had been salvaged from the PRV was repurposed for this application. · The roofing contractor has indicated that all repairs will be complete the week of Nov 23rd. · The Arena will be open for business on Nov 20th. · All of the Public Works and WTP procedures are currently being re-written and re-formatted as the previous versions were antiquated. · Public Works has been focusing on snow removal. · Public Works and WTP staff are in the process of qualification for Basic Emergency Management as well as Incident Command System 100. Should be completed by Jan 30th, 2021. · All safety training for Public Works staff is now up to date. Reports · Councillor Carol Webster reported on the first meeting of the regional Chamber of Commerce on Nov 13th. Representatives from Mayerthorpe, Whitecourt, Swan Hills, Edson, Fox Creek, and Barrhead attended. The discussions included helping Barrhead with the closure of ADLC and Swan Hills with the closure of the SHTC. Ways of providing benefits to the regional Chamber members were also discussed. The next meeting will be on Dec 4th. · Councillor Carol Webster reported that GROWTH Alberta held two executive meetings, on Nov 18th and Nov 24th. The GROWTH chairman will be resigning, meaning that a new chairman will need to be appointed. The Village of Wabamun has voted to dissolve their municipality and will become a Hamlet on January 1st, so this alliance will be losing a member. The next GROWTH Meeting will be on Nov 27th. · Councillor Carol Webster detailed Community Futures Yellowhead East’s (CFYE) meeting on Nov 19th, which focused on succession planning. One of CFYE’s members is approaching their eight-year term limit and will need to step down within the next year. · Councillor Elizabeth Krawiec reported having a promising Zoom meeting with a member of Community Futures that is very interested in helping Swan Hills with our Economic development. They hope to meet again soon. · Councillor Terry Kuyek reported on the Nov 18th school council meeting. With the impending closure of the ADLC threatening a major reorganization of staff, 44 teachers have chosen retirement rather than “bumping” their coworkers. The school council will move from monthly meetings to meeting every two months due to a lack of participation from the community. Jenny Kilpatrick – Life &Health; Coach – has offered support services for staff and parents feeling excessive strain and stress during these times.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Discovery+ will be available on Jan. 4 in the United States where it will include 55,000 episodes from channels in the Discovery portfolio, which include HGTV, Food Network and Animal Planet. The service will be free for up to 12 months for new and existing Verizon customers, depending on their plan. People who aren’t eligible for the free trial can subscribe to the service for $4.99 per month with ads, or $6.99 per month ad-free.
Waterloo Region council will vote Dec. 2 on whether to get rid of the five child-care centres it operates. Parents and advocates say the move would harm quality of care and leave hundreds of children in the lurch. Tania Gonzalez said her son Marcus has been well cared for since going to Christopher Children's Centre in Cambridge in mid-2019, when he was an infant. Caretakers at the centre recognized when Marcus was behind on his speech and made her aware of it. Marcus started talking around March, said Gonzalez, just before the province declared a state of emergency and closed all child-care centres. When Marcus returned to Christopher in July, they “lost all the progress,” Gonzalez said. “Not for lack of trying at home, but again, we ... don't specialize in children's development,” she said, adding, since returning to Christopher, Marcus is using easily up to 50 words. “It's not just a daycare. It's not just a babysitter. It's a whole system looking out for my kids.” Tania Resendes said her kids Leo, three, and Matteo, one, really love seeing their teachers at Christopher. Matteo, who has hearing loss, could only speak around three words when he started out and saw a “significant difference” within a month of being at the centre, using over 12 words. Resendes said parents should have “options,” and believes it would be hard to find care of the same calibre in a private daycare system, especially for children with special needs. She said she has tried calling around to child-care centres, but it has been hard to find available spots during the pandemic, when child-care centres are operating at a around 70 per cent capacity. “The prospect of closing or off-loading child-care centres during a pandemic is absolutely shameful,” Carolyn Ferns, policy co-ordinator at the Ontario Coalition of Better Child Care (OCBCC) stated in a media release. “The regionally-operated child-care centres play an important role in the child-care system in the Region of Waterloo. “High-quality, public child-care centres are a benchmark for decent wages, pensions, and benefits for educators who are predominantly women.” With the closures, the region would lose around $2.2 million in fees from parents and would free up $4.3 million in provincial financing earmarked for child care, a consultation review found. Closure would also, it found, require the region to immediately shell out up to $6.4 million in severance pay as the region is projected to be $25 million in the red. CUPE Local 1883, which represents workers in each of the five child-care centres, said the move would leave parents, caretakers and the children in the cold. “Hundreds of working families in the region are already at their breaking point during this brutal pandemic,” says Noelle Fletcher, president of the local. “Losing public child-care spaces due to closures or off-loading them to the community will result in a destabilization of care. “Many parents and caregivers may have to quit their jobs and rely on unlicensed, private care with exorbitant fees or be placed on lengthy wait lists in community-based centres.” Staff recommend eliminating Cambridge Children’s Centre, Kitchener’s Edith MacIntosh Children’s Centre, Kinsmen Children’s Centre and Christopher Children’s Centre, both in Cambridge, by mid-2021. Elmira Children’s Centre is recommended to be closed at a future date. As a result, around 250 children would lose support and 62 full-time staff would be permanently laid off. In 2015, council voted against the closure of all five centres amid public pressure. This time, Resendes said, parents were given too little time to prepare. “From the moment that we found out to when it's going to vote, we've been given three weeks to try and advocate, do our research ... and figure out exactly what's going on.” The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 and will be livestreamed. Call 519-575-4400 to leave feedback.Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
Israel received its most advanced warship on Wednesday, describing the German-made vessel dubbed "Shield" as a bulwark for vulnerable Mediterranean gas rigs as tensions with Tehran soar over the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist. The Saar-6 corvette that docked in Haifa port, and three of the same model to follow next year, will bring to 15 the number of missile boats deployed by an Israeli navy which, while small, carries out missions as far away as the Red Sea and the Gulf. Israel also wants to protect off-shore natural gas fields close to Lebanon, an old foe with which it has held so far fruitless U.S.-mediated maritime border talks.
A Saint John housing group has jumped into the city's red hot market for apartment buildings to preserve some lower- cost units for renters.But Rehabitat Inc. warns more has to be done by government to protect tenants and keep neighbourhoods affordable for all groups."Diversity is absolutely essential to a healthy community," said Kit Hickey, executive director of Rehabitat."There is room for all of us."Rehabitat, a private non-profit organization, owns and manages affordable housing units in Saint John.Two weeks ago the organization responded to an apartment building buying spree underway in the city by both local and national investors by stepping into the market itself and snapping up a 12-unit building in the Saint John neighbourhood of Millidgeville.Group pays 54% above property's assessed valueThe group had to pay $780,000 for the building on Lauder Court to compete with prices private buyers have been paying, 54 per cent above the property's assessed value.But Hickey said it had to be done."We thought that it was important that we do our absolute best to acquire the building," said Hickey "We've become increasingly concerned about the lack of affordable housing for the modest income population. We, as others have seen in the recent headlines, [see] properties being purchased, renovated and the rents increasing exponentially." Properties have been in high demand all over New Brunswick this year and that has been driving up prices, especially since late spring. According to provincial government tax records $1.28 billion worth of real-estate sold in the province in June, July and August this year.That's $250 million more than the same three months last year and 36 per cent above what the province had been projecting.Investors buying across CanadaIncluded in that shopping frenzy were more than 100 apartment buildings purchased by investors from across the country. Often prices that buyers paid were substantially above "market value," as set by provincial government property assessors.That has not been a problem for some tenants who have experienced a seamless change in ownership so far.But others haven't been so lucky.Earlier this fall, Moncton's William Morissette was given notice of a 61 per cent rent hike at his apartment.He received a letter on Oct. 1 letting him know his rent would be going up by $460 a month starting Jan. 1.Others, like tenants at 332 Sherbrooke St. in Saint John, were given notice to vacate by new owners by the end of January so renovations on their apartments could be carried out and ultimately rents increased.Province wants to prevent 'ripple' in economy The province has expressed concern about landlords forcing renters to move out during the current surge in COVID-19 cases in southern New Brunswick but has been reluctant to ban the practice and disturb the flow of investment."We want to make sure we don't cause any ripple within the economy or within the whole housing market," Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch said last week about why the province would not temporarily ban the eviction of tenants during the pandemic.All three opposition parties have been pushing against that position.But Hickey believes much more effort is needed on the larger problem of maintaining affordable housing in neighbourhoods, where real-estate prices and rents have been escalating "Many families are facing economic evictions," said Hickey. She said new housing units coming on the market are priced well-above the affordability range for modest income individuals or families."The options are very limited for modest income households."
A Saskatoon man accused of robbing numerous businesses, residences and vehicles across central Saskatchewan was re-arrested. Cody Kemick, 37, failed to appear in court in October and was arrested and remanded in custody. At a bail hearing on Nov. 27 he was granted bail but he remains in custody because he hasn’t paid the bail for his release yet. Kemick and Chantal Dubois, 40, were arrested after police raided his Saskatoon home May 2. Police say that between Feb. 4 and April 26, 2020, they received numerous reports of break, enter and thefts across central Saskatchewan. Several police agencies worked together and Kemick was identified as the suspect. At Kemick’s home, police found computer equipment allegedly stolen from Western Wireless in Unity on April 18, 2020. They also located what they believe to be stolen tools, computers, electronic devices, ammunition, cheques, salon products, lottery tickets and clothes from businesses, residences and vehicles in Saskatoon, Unity, Lucky Lake, Dinsmore, Rosetown, Kerrobert, Aberdeen, Humboldt, Milden, and Conquest. Kemick was charged with three counts of break and enter, 10 counts of possession of stolen property, theft and mischief. Dubois was charged with break and enter, and seven counts of possession of stolen property. Dubois had also previously failed to appear in court and a warrant to hold was issued until Nov. 25. On that day a lawyer appeared on her behalf and the warrant was vacated. Dubois is now scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court on Dec. 16 to elect how she wants to be tried. Kemick is scheduled to appear next in Saskatoon Provincial Court Dec. 17, also to elect how he wants to be tried. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Scientists say a year in which almost 200 tundra lakes drained away could point to what's in store for Canada's North.Between 2017 and 2018, 192 lakes in northwest Alaska lost at least a quarter of their area as the permafrost that held them melted. Canada has plenty of the same kind of landscape and can likely expect the same effects, said Claude Duguay, a University of Waterloo researcher and co-author of a new paper in the journal Cryosphere."It's pretty widespread," he said.Duguay and his colleagues examined some of the countless small, shallow lakes that dot the tundra of Alaska's Seward Peninsula. Many have been stable for millennia while others wax and wane depending on the stability of the permafrost that blocks water from draining both underneath and along the shoreline.During the winter of 2017 and into the summer 2018, the entire region experienced unusually warm temperatures and exceptionally heavy precipitation consistent with what climate change models predict across the Arctic. "These conditions are basically projections of what may be happening in the future," said Duguay.Warmer than usual — air temperatures that year averaged 0 C — and insulated by a thick blanket of snow, much of the permafrost that ringed the shores and sealed the bottoms melted away. In a single year, nearly 1,200 hectares of lake disappeared. That's more than 10 times the usual rate of change and twice the drainage of the previously worst year, 2005-06. Similar lakes sitting on similar geology are easy to find in Canada, Duguay said. They cover the Mackenzie Delta in the Northwest Territories, the Old Crow flats in Yukon and the Hudson Bay lowlands in Manitoba and Ontario. "Some of those regions are already showing similar trends," said Duguay, who added that Canada hasn't yet experienced anything like what happened in Alaska, but it could be coming."The process could accelerate," said Duguay. "That's what we've been seeing. There's been temperature increases of four degrees in the winter. Higher temperature and more snowfall will lead to these types of winters." The Northwest Territories has long been experiencing the effects of melting permafrost: sinking buildings, heaving roads and cracking airstrips. In 2015, a lake in the N.W.T. fell off a cliff when the permafrost holding it up melted. Losing lakes affects how people get around and use the landscape, Duguay said. And as well as being a clear sign of climate change, draining lakes also contribute to it. Permafrost is full of carbon from undecomposed plant material. Melting permafrost exposes that material, which generates both carbon dioxide and methane, the two main greenhouse gases.Canada's vast stretches of tundra hold millions of tonnes of such material, said Duguay."The draining of these lakes will lead to the remobilization of carbon." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.— Follow @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Press
La famille Maurice ne chôme pas ! À la barre d’Élevage M. Maurice à Val-Joli, elle exploite une ferme avicole de 10 300 poules pondeuses. Pour des œufs de consommation blancs de spécialité « poules en liberté ». C’est la première entreprise de production d’œufs dans le Val-Saint-François. Tania, 35 ans, et Martin, 40 ans, sont aussi les parents de trois jeunes enfants. Martin Maurice a grandi sur la ferme laitière de son père à Saint-Claude. Puis, après beaucoup de préparation, il a démarré son entreprise en 2017 avec l’aide de Tania, sa conjointe, qui s’occupe du côté administratif. « Nos bâtiments à la fine pointe de la technologie sont dotés de système de caméras, de réglage des ventilateurs à partir de la maison, etc., on voit tout ce qui se passe, explique-t-il. On abrite un cheptel avicole qui grossit d’année en année. Nous sommes certifiés pour en accueillir 18 000. » En cage, au sol ou en plein air? Les poules qui évoluent en liberté, élevées dans un système de volières, circulent dans des poulaillers à aires ouvertes équipés de nids et de perchoirs. « Pour moi, c’était un critère essentiel, précise Tania. Le contact avec elles est bonifié. Ça impressionne quelquefois nos enfants qui font le train avec nous chaque jour ! Voir autant d’animaux autour de soi, quand on est petit, c’est impression-nant ! » Leur catégorie se situe juste avant celle des œufs biologiques. Cette dernière exige que les poules soient libres d’aller à l’extérieur et qu’elles soient nourries de grains biologiques. Membre du mouvement coopératif Nutri-Œuf, un des plus gros joueurs canadiens, les jeunes entrepreneurs écoulent entièrement leur production sans accuser de perte. « Cela dit, nous sommes un marché de proximité et on aime vendre directement de la ferme, confie Tania. Notre kiosque libre-service est ouvert 7 jours sur 7. Et depuis la Covid, celui-ci se porte bien ! » Chaque défi n’est-il pas une occasion d’enrichir un savoir-faire? Pour ce couple de producteurs partis de zéro pour en arriver à une telle entreprise, cela va de soi. C’est plutôt une bonne nouvelle pour les consommateurs et les animaux! facebook.com/elevagemmauriceœuf.ca/producteurs/les-fermes/elevage-m-maurice-incMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
A long-time familiar face in the Hudson’s Hope medical community has retired. Long-time resident and nurse Susan Worrall Soderstrom retired this summer after nearly 30 years serving the community. Soderstrom says her career has been a good one, and says she’s glad she stayed to practice in the small community, often filling much need gaps in medical services. “I’ve got good memories here, people growing up and moving on with their lives. It’s nice to see the generations come through and getting to know everyone,” said Soderstrom. “I went into it because I care about people.” Soderstrom started her career in the Prince George Regional Hospital, working in pediatric intensive care for several years, before moving back to Hudson’s Hope. “It was a big change coming from pediatrics to working with all the adults as well,” said Soderstrom. “But it was a good asset to have, with all the children in town here.” Soderstrom also worked in maternity and end of life care in Prince George. “Right from birth to holding their hands when they leave this world, I’ve done it all,” she said. “It was a great asset to have that experience.” Soderstrom says she’s seen a lot working in the small community — a sinkhole at the WAC Bennett Dam in 1996, fires in 1997, and working out of the District Office basement in 1995 while the current clinic was being built. “That was challenging, working out of the basement,” said Soderstrom, laughing. “The stairs. That was the hardest part, it wasn’t easy having to haul people up and down them.” Since then, Soderstrom has been a regular ‘Jill of all Trades’, stepping in over the years to help fill prescriptions and even taking courses to keep the heating system on at the clinic. Soderstrom says she’s looking forward to taking some time to work on some passion projects. “It’s been busy. You get in that work mode and it’s hard to get out of it, I’ve got to learn to relax and pace myself I think,” she said of retirement. “Once I get myself organized and sorted, I’d like to do some more watercolour painting and photography. Do some artsy stuff. I haven’t been able to do watercolours for six or seven years, just because it’s been too busy with work and home.” Northern Health is currently recruiting for a casual primary care nurse for Hudson's Hope. Email reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com.Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
TORONTO — Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has agreed to sell its interests in the RiverStone Europe insurance business to a fund managed by CVC Capital Partners.Fairfax says it will receive US$750 million for its stake on Riverstone Europe, once the deal closes, and it is entitled to up to an additional US$235.7 million after closing.The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System has also agreed to sell its entire stake in RiverStone Europe as part of the deal.RiverStone Europe managing director Luke Tanzer will remain in his role and Nick Bentley, CEO of the RiverStone Group, will continue to serve on the board of RiverStone Europe once the deal closes, Fairfax said in a statement.CVC is making the acquisition through its Strategic Opportunities Fund II.The deal is contingent on approval by regulatory agencies and is expected to close in early 2021.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:FFH)The Canadian Press
Two local organizations are encouraging area residents to help keep the Christmas spirit alive in Haliburton this festive season. The Haliburton and District Lions Club is teaming up with the Haliburton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) to host an impromptu month-long Christmas tree decoration party on Highland St. From now until Dec. 25, local residents are invited to bring their favourite Christmas ornament and hang it on the town tree, located outside the Village Barn on Highland Street. The event has been put forward as a way for people to tap into the Christmas magic a little differently this year, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing popular celebrations such as the Santa Claus parade and Festival of Trees to be cancelled. “It’s been a tough year, and I think people are looking for a sense of festivity and community with the Christmas season upon us,” said Angelica Ingram, administrator of the Haliburton BIA. “Our town is small, and we do a lot of community-oriented things, and people are starting to notice the absence of that.” She added, “We’re trying to do something here to make people feel connected. We’re trying to encourage people to be a part of the community. I think people are tired of being isolated, and just tired of not seeing their neighbours, friends and family on the main street.” With the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit reporting only four active COVID-19 cases in the area, and the region remaining in the ‘Green’ zone of the Ontario government’s coronavirus response framework, Ingram believes local residents can feel safe participating in the event providing they follow the recognized safety protocols and practice social distancing. The tree, donated by local businessman Kim Emmerson and set up by volunteer members of the Dysart Fire Department last week, already boasts about a half dozen Christmas decorations, although there’s room for much more says Jim Frost, a long-time member of the local Lions Club. Having spent several years organizing the town’s Santa Claus parade, Jim was determined to find another way to celebrate the Christmas season in style. In the end, it was his wife Marilyn who came up with the idea to decorate the town tree. “I saw something on TV one day, where another community was doing something similar and I thought ‘what a great idea’,” Marilyn said. “I’ve always felt that tree should have something else on it. This is now a great way to get people into town, and get kids involved.”Mike Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo
The minister in charge of Saskatchewan jails says the province is unable to release prisoners from the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell says the government is doing all it can to protect the inmates and staff at the jail.In the past 10 days, the number of staff and inmates testing positive for COVID-19 at the centre has gone from zero to 142.A variety of people, advocacy groups and support groups are calling for the targeted release of inmates from the centre. According to the government, such decisions would be made by Public Prosecutions.In the spring, Public Prosecutions moved to reduce the numbers in the province's jails. It instructed prosecutors to review all new arrests with an eye to keeping non-violent accused out of jail. Both orders were a response to fears about the COVID-19 coronavirus getting into the jail system."As new arrests come in, they will be assessed with the COVID-19 situation and the situation in the correctional centres in mind," assistant deputy attorney general Anthony Gerein said in March."But we will also be assessing people who are currently on remand to determine whether or not there should be any change to their status."On Tuesday, Christine Tell defended the government's role and said it doesn't know how the virus got into the jail. "We do quarantine everyone that comes into the facility. Why it came into the facility with all the precautions, I can't answer that," she said.She said the jail has been taking precautions to slow the spread, including mandatory masking, no longer charging inmates for soap and banning visitors.NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer said the province's handling and response should cost Tell her cabinet position.Tell said the government will not review how COVID-19 was able to get into the facility. Sarauer said that is not good enough."This is a minister who shouldn't be a minister anymore," Sarauer said.
ENHYPEN, “BORDER : DAY ONE” (Belift Lab)With a speed and preparedness that would put to shame the world’s largest corporations, K-pop entertainment agencies continue to perfect the formula for success, launching multiple hit songs and albums with multiple acts.Next up is septet ENHYPEN. Following their participation in the 2020 reality TV show “I-LAND,” BELIFT LAB — a joint venture between BTS’ management BIG HIT and CJ ENM — is launching them into the stratosphere with a six-track debut album called “BORDER : DAY ONE.”The album introduces the seven-member group to the world with lyrics expressing anticipation, longing and the desire to connect. “Given-Taken” is a harp pop dramatic fantasy constructed around a hip-hop beat and “Let Me In (20 CUBE)” brings in a sexy, slow reggae rhythm wrapped around a captivating electric guitar.“10 Months” feeds a confident piano crescendo into a sort of a reverb pop and underwater effects and “Flicker” follows a dreamy drum bass infused with the charisma of a rake watching his next mark. “Intro : Walk the Line" and “Outro : Cross the Line" are mainly creative exercises meant to bookmark and flesh out the high concept release.It’s clear some sort of alchemy is turning voices and faces into gold overnight. Perhaps lucky No. 7 is real after all.Cristina Jaleru, The Associated Press
A former Barrie surgeon has given up his licence to practise medicine and has promised his regulatory body to never apply to register as a physician ever again, anywhere. The agreement arose following a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) disciplinary hearing last week. “The agreement to never reapply for registration… is the maximum level of punishment available in this situation,” said CPSO communications advisor Josh McLarnon. The college had earlier launched investigations into Dr. Emad M. Guirguis and his now-defunct Lakeview Surgery Centre on Dunlop Street following complaints. He was found to perform cosmetic surgery that was outside his scope of practice as a physician, not having the proper training and certification. He also engaged in unprofessional conduct through online advertising and communications with a specific patient. In addition to the practice ban, he was ordered to pay $6,000. “Dr. Guirguis has been brought forward to the discipline committee on a number of occasions,” McLarnon added. An investigation was first launched in 2015 resulting in a caution three years later. Another caution was later issued relating to his compliance of the first issue. In one complaint, Guirguis tried to perform bariatric revision gastric band surgery, but decided not to complete the surgery because he encountered extensive scar tissue from previous surgeries. According to documents from the college’s compliance and monitoring department, he perforated the patient’s bowel during the surgery, resulting in ongoing complications. The complainant said he did not communicate or follow up with her after the surgery or provide a refund of her fee. “The committee... was of the view that the respondent’s pre-operative assessment was insufficient,” the decision of the inquiries, complaints and reports committee found. In another report, an independent assessor concluded: “Dr. Guirguis did not meet the standard of practice of the profession in some of the cases reviewed; his knowledge was adequate but basic; his surgical skills were adequate for his limited scope of practice; his judgment was not always adequate, mostly because the brief documentation does not allow a full understanding of his train of thought and exposes omissions or incomplete assessments; and in the reviewed cases his clinical practice, behaviour, or conduct had the potential to expose one patient to harm.” Other assessors, it added, found broad deficiencies in Dr. Guirguis’s practice. In a report from Dec. 14, 2018, Guirguis was cautioned about not providing a full explanation of a procedure to a patient and ensuring the patient had full clarity about what was going to be done following a complaint to the college about the outcome of a cosmetic surgical procedure. According to CPSO documents, Guirguis agreed he has engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. He was ultimately found to have committed an act of professional misconduct. Dr. Guirguis’s certificate of registration expired Sept. 4, 2020. In addition to the clinic, Guirguis was also once a staff general surgeon at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. Guirguis did not respond to requests for comment, but according to his Facebook page he is studying for his master's degree in theological studies at Tyndale University College and Seminary.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
NAIROBI, Kenya — In a breakthrough a month after deadly conflict cut off Ethiopia’s Tigray region from the world, the United Nations on Wednesday said it and the Ethiopian government have signed a deal to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access, at least for areas under federal government control after the prime minister’s declaration of victory over the weekend.This will allow the first food, medicines and other aid into the region of 6 million people that has seen rising hunger during the fighting between the federal and Tigray regional governments. Each regards the other as illegal in a power struggle that has been months in the making.For weeks, the U.N. and others have pleaded for access amid reports of supplies running desperately low for millions of people. A U.N. humanitarian spokesman, Saviano Abreu, said the first mission to carry out a needs assessment would begin Wednesday.“We are of course working to make sure assistance will be provided in the whole region and for every single person who needs it,” he said. The U.N. and partners are committed to engaging with “all parties to the conflict" to ensure that aid to Tigray and the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions is “strictly based on needs."Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment.For weeks, aid-laden trucks have been blocked at Tigray’s borders, and the U.N. and other humanitarian groups were increasingly anxious to reach Tigray as hunger grows and hospitals run out of basic supplies like gloves and body bags.“We literally have staff reaching out to us to say they have no food for their children,” one humanitarian worker told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.“We have been urging, waiting, begging for access,” another aid official, Jan Egeland with the Norwegian Refugee Council, told the AP. “We're ready to go tomorrow. ... It has been heartbreaking to be forced to wait."More than 1 million people in Tigray are now thought to be displaced, including over 45,000 who have fled into a remote area of neighbouring Sudan. Humanitarians have struggled to feed them as they set up a crisis response from scratch.Communications and transport links remain almost completely severed to Tigray, and the fugitive leader of the defiant regional government this week told the AP that fighting continues despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's declaration of victory.It remains almost impossible to verify either side’s claims as the conflict threatens to destabilize both the country and the entire Horn of Africa.“It is critically important to get objective information as to what is going on,” the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, told the BBC. “The active military phase is basically over. I’m not saying the fighting is over. So at this point, the humanitarian phase is the most important one.”Nagy added that “now the danger is this evolving into a long-term insurgency." He also disagreed with Ethiopia's description of the conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to arrest the Tigray leaders, saying that “it was obviously a military operation.” The fighting between two heavily armed forces has seen airstrikes, rocket attacks and tanks.For weeks, the U.N. and others have been increasingly insistent on the need to reach some 600,000 people in Tigray who already were dependent on food aid even before the conflict.Now those needs have exploded, but Abiy has resisted international pressure for dialogue and de-escalation, saying his government will not “negotiate our sovereignty.” His government regards the Tigray regional government, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for more than a quarter-century, as illegitimate after months of growing friction as he sought to centralize power.Amid the warring sides’ claims and counter-claims, one thing is clear: Civilians have suffered.The U.N. says food has run out for the nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea whose camps close to the Tigray border with Eritrea have been in the line of fire as the fighting swept through. Reports that some refugees have been killed or abducted, if true, “would be major violations of international norms,” the U.N. refugee chief said over the weekend in an urgent appeal to Abiy.These are “extremely vulnerable people” who fled persecution in Eritrea, Egeland said. “It’s been extremely frustrating to lose access and communication.”With infrastructure there and elsewhere in Tigray damaged, the U.N. has said some people are now drinking untreated water, increasing the risk of diseases.In the largest hospital in the Tigray capital, Mekele, staff had to suspend other activities to focus on treating the large number of wounded from the conflict, the International Committee for the Red Cross said.The ICRC, the rare organization to travel inside the Tigray region and its borderlands, has reported coming across abandoned communities and camps of displaced people.No one knows the true toll of the fighting. Human rights and humanitarian groups have reported several hundred people killed, including civilians, but many more are feared.Inside Tigray, and among the majority ethnic Tigrayan refugees in Sudan, people are exhausted.“The world hasn’t seen anything like this year. I have never seen anything like this,” said one refugee who gave his name as Danyo, standing on the edge of a river that people on Tuesday were crossing to seek safety.“When Dr. Abiy came, we saw him as a good thing,” he said. “Our hopes were fulfilled, because his talk in the beginning was as sweet as honey, but now the honey has gone sour.”___Fay Abuelgasim in Hamdayet, Sudan, contributed.Cara Anna, The Associated Press