Two men just reclaimed their record after completing the drive from NYC to LA in less than 26 hours. ABC’s Will Ganss reports.
Two men just reclaimed their record after completing the drive from NYC to LA in less than 26 hours. ABC’s Will Ganss reports.
SOUTH BRUCE – Last week, the Municipality of South Bruce responded to a letter received on Feb. 23 from David Donnelly. The lawyer represents opponents of the proposed deep geological repository (DGR) with their lawyer's correspondence. The communication said, “We have been provided with a copy of your letter to Municipal Council dated Feb. 4, 2021 on behalf of Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste. We have been asked to respond to the points raised in your letter on behalf of the municipality.” South Bruce’s lawyer, Patrick G. Duffy, outlined “significant developments…over the past 18 months that are relevant to the topics outlined” in the letter. He provided a timeline of these developments starting in November 2019, spanning to February 2021, which included updated reports and studies completed to date. The outline included that “approximately 60 processes and inputs” have recently been initiated “to ensure the community has the information needed to make an informed decision about whether to host the project.” Duffy went on to answer each of the questions/concerns outlined in Donnelly’s letter. Duffy answered, “your letter raises questions about the regulatory jurisdiction for the project and the municipality’s role in the regulatory process.” He explained that the DGR project is a federal undertaking under the Constitution Act 1867, and that it must comply with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) licensing regime. “Before the CNSC can issue a licence for the Project, the NWMO (Nuclear Waste Management Organization) will be required to complete a federal impact assessment under the Impact Assessment Act,” with a public regulatory process that will take “many years to complete.” The project will only advance after the assessment and licencing are finished. Duffy added, “While the federal government holds primary regulatory authority over the project, the municipality can exercise its jurisdiction over the project provided it does not displace or frustrate the purpose of federal regulation.” He said the municipality has “a limited but important role in regulating local impacts…such as aspects of land use and transportation.” In regards to Donnelly’s request to “confirm a compelling demonstration of willingness to host a DGR as a binding referendum, requiring a two-thirds majority,” Duffy said, “at this time, council has not made any determination as to whether the community is a willing host for the project.” Added Duffy, “Council has not yet decided how willingness to host the project will be determined. The municipality is working with its lead consultant GHD on a process to seek community input on what mechanisms should be used to assess willingness.” The peer reviews and funding for those reviews are addressed in the “Guiding Principles” recently incorporated by the municipality. The municipality is applying the same practices they use for other large infrastructure projects, the letter said, adding, "The municipality required and has secured funding from the NWMO to undertake appropriate peer reviews and independent studies of the potential impacts on and benefits for the community associated with the project.” Duffy said, “In this regard, Principle 25 of the Guiding Principles states: ‘The NWMO will fund the engagement of subject matter experts by the Municipality to undertake peer reviews of Project reports and independent assessments of the Project’s potential impacts on and benefits for the community as determined necessary by the Municipality.’” Donnelly said that “NWMO should apply under the Planning Act for amendments to the South Bruce Zoning Bylaw.” Both the Bruce Nuclear Power Development and Darlington Nuclear Power Plant are governed in part by the Planning Act. The South Bruce Zoning Bylaw (bylaw 2011-63) does not authorize a nuclear waste repository in the municipality. A nuclear waste repository is not a service or utility referenced in subsection 3.1.1 (i) or (ii), nor is the NWMO considered an agency or department of the federal government. “The issue of municipal planning authority over the project has been addressed in Principle 33, which states: ‘The NWMO will comply with the Municipal Official Plan and zoning bylaw and seek amendments to the Official Plan and zoning bylaw as necessary to implement the Project,” said Duffy. “Consistent with Principle 33, the Municipality expects that the NWMO will comply with the South Bruce Zoning Bylaw for all activities undertaken within the community and seek appropriate variance or amendments to the applicable zoning as needed,” he added. The municipality does not view the Planning Act as a good tool to obtain public participation in assessing "willingness," Duffy said. “A zoning bylaw amendment for the use of the site as a Deep Geological Repository would not be required until a building permit for the facility is needed, which will be after the federal impact assessment process is completed and the NWMO is ready to commence construction on the Project,” he said, adding, “this timing is obviously unsuitable for use in the site selection process.” Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Of all the restrictions placed on Manitobans during the pandemic, those that restrict funerals and those grieving the loss of a loved one may be the most damaging of them all. "The health of people is my concern, the wellness of people, their mental wellness, which plays out physically, emotionally, spiritually. Those restrictions that are in place right now, I’m finding are detrimental to people’s mental health," said David Klassen, a funeral director with Braendle-Bruce Funeral Service in Russell. Klassen noted an Alberta funeral that took place last year, where many people contracted COVID-19. But, he said, the funeral was not governed by a funeral director. "The families did it on their own. There are some, there are very few, but there are some communities where funeral directors aren’t actually present at the ceremony and the burial," he said. "Kevin (Sweryd) from MFSA (Manitoba Funeral Service Association) will quickly tell you that best practices as far as funeral directors is that we’re promoting the health guidelines." In fact, Sweryd, who is president of the association, has been trying to get basic answers from a variety of government agencies for almost a year. In a document provided to The Brandon Sun, Sweryd questions the internal logic of the orders with regards to funeral homes and churches. "I can go to a church service on Sunday and attend with 100 people. But, on Monday, if a member of the exact same church has to have a (funeral) service for his wife at the exact same church 24 hours later, then it is only safe to have 10 people in the exact same space," Sweryd states. He also wonders why funeral gatherings are restricted to 10 people while other businesses with far fewer safety protocols in place are allowed 25 per cent of their capacity, without tracking, without contact lists and very little management of crowd flow to ensure that there is adequate distancing. Currently the public orders state that up to 10 persons, other than the officiant and a photographer or videographer, may attend a wedding or funeral if the operator of the premises where the wedding or funeral takes place implements measures to ensure that all persons attending are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from other persons at the wedding or funeral. Meanwhile, for worship, the orders state churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship may open to hold regular religious services if (a) the number of persons attending a service does not exceed 25 per cent of the usual capacity of the premises or 100 persons, whichever is lower. "Funerals can be conducted safely. We can keep contact lists and we can have proper social distancing in our chapels. What is the reason for treating our profession differently?" asked Sweryd. He stated he has asked this question of the previous health minister, the MECC (Manitoba Emergency Co-ordination Centre), Dr. Brent Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister. "I have been asking this question for almost a year. And I have not received even the courtesy of a reply that I can share with our membership," he stated. Klassen recalled one situation where a woman called three days after she had been in Braendle-Bruce’s, then tested positive for COVID-19. Staff went back through their contact information, determining who had been working and who might have been in contact with her. "We called the public health office and explained the situation. What do we do now? What are the protocols? And, they ask the question, ‘Was anybody within six feet of her, unmasked, for 15 minutes?’ Of course, nobody was. Everybody was masked throughout the whole time. So they actually told us that that wasn’t considered contact," said Klassen. "We were allowed to continue operating, nobody ever developed symptoms. There was no follow from that." Public health orders relating to gathering, consistently group weddings and funerals together, including the orders dated March 4. Klassen objects because gathering for a funeral is unlike any other type of gathering. "It’s not the same as a wedding. It’s far from the same as a wedding. The wedding can be planned at any time and everybody can change their plans. But a funeral happens only when someone dies. And immediately, grief takes over. Grief can’t be put on hold. Grief starts immediately, with a loss," he said. He added we face all sorts of losses — divorce, loss of a job, for example. The process of grief is very similar, but grief of loss through death is irreversible. A person can get another spouse, another job. "But you can’t establish that same relationship with a deceased spouse or a parent or a child," said Klassen. When the strictest restrictions were announced, Braendle-Bruce adapted with livestreaming — a practice the company will likely continue even after the pandemic for far-flung relatives. But it’s not the same as being physically in a room. "In the last little while, we handled the funeral service for a young mother, a 38-year-old wife, mother (of four), and of course her parents are still living, her in-laws are still living. She became ill with cancer and her death was way more premature than they anticipated with her illness," said Klassen. "How do you choose 10 people to be at that funeral? In that situation, there would have been 500 people at the funeral. You’re gathering with a family that’s waiting to begin a service where they’re walking into a church or a hall and just warmed by the fact that there are 450 people physically there to help participate in a memorialization and in the compassion of being together with this family who desperately is hurting, as well as all the other 450 people that are there. "And now what we have to do is just walk into a big empty facility. Nobody there. The only ones there are the cameraman, the minister and the organist." Klassen said it weighs heavy. In the last while, funeral services have had the ability to rotate. As one person leaves, another goes in. That happened after Klassen observed people rotating in and out of Tim Hortons. He spoke with MLAs and a provincial minister. "It’s fantastic. We need coffee. I said to them, why is it more important for people to be able to rotate in and out of Tim Hortons? Not diminishing the need to have coffee, OK, by any means. But why can’t people at least rotate in and out of the funeral home?" asked Klassen. That helped improve the situation, involving more people in the funeral service. Braendle-Bruce has handled roughly 250 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Add to that number, in the Westman/Prairie Mountain Health region, another two dozen funeral service providers. That’s a lot of grief. Some postpone the service, as public health officials have suggested, but Klassen said when grief doesn’t start out properly, it becomes dysfunctional, which will cause more strain on society down the road. The restriction on gathering outdoors are just as onerous and, when applied to the graveside, is also incomprehensible to Klassen. "A funeral service is very different than your weekend barbecue with your neighbours," he said. "The weekend barbecue, you can have any night of the week and as many times in a year as you want. But a graveside service to say that only 10 people can be in a space that’s 100 acres — that just doesn’t make sense." Braendle-Bruce serves several First Nations, and one chief said to Klassen, "Where’s the common sense?" With regard to First Nations, Klassen said there is always someone from the community designated to work with Braendle-Bruce to regulate the protocols of the public orders. "So they’ve established within their own community a leader to promote or encourage people to follow the guidelines," he said. While he said he has the utmost respect for those in the position of authority and responsibility, Klassen said he and others in his profession would like direct communication with Manitoba Public Health. "They’re doing the best they can, but what I’d like to see is a liaison between funeral service, those that are involved in it directly, and the public health office. I see a lot of people are able to communicate directly with the public health office, and then establish guidelines and protocols that are suitable for each different segment of society," said Klassen. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Charlottetown's public works department has had to once again clean up a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister. A city official said the downtown statue was splattered with yellow paint and what appears to be candy on either late Saturday night or Sunday last weekend. It is the third incident involving the statue in the last year. In September it was tipped over, damaging the head. In June it was splattered with red paint. The presence of the statue has created controversy because of Macdonald's role in the creation of residential schools for Indigenous peoples. The city pledged last summer to make changes to the statue, but in January it was still at odds with local Indigenous leaders about what changes should be made. The city's public works department cleaned up the latest vandalism on Monday. It set up a protective barrier around it, to protect shop fronts and pedestrians during the cleaning, and sandblasted off the paint and debris. The cleaning cost about $1,200. Cleaning off the red paint in June cost about $1,700. Charlottetown police say they were informed about the most recent incident on Sunday and they are investigating. More from CBC P.E.I.
Last summer, Kingston Animal Rescue rescued a German Shepherd from euthanasia at a non-local shelter. Earlier this month, Rex had to undergo surgery for a disc compression. The costs for the surgery and associated tests were nearly $10,000, and now the organization is asking for help to recoup those costs. Rex came into the care of Kingston Animal Rescue (KAR) in June 2020, according to a release from the organization. At the shelter, Rex suffered seizures, which are now well controlled with medication. The organization said Rex also suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which requires prescription food and medication. Kingston Animal Rescue is a no-kill animal rescue group that rescues and finds forever homes for animals in need. They use a network of foster homes, and primarily take in last chance animals – those at risk of euthanasia or who would otherwise be at risk without intervention. The organization said over the last few months Rex began to face a much more serious challenge as he began to struggle with his hind legs. At times, he could not move them properly, they would seize up, and he would drag his back feet until they were bloody, according to the release. A disc compression (“slipped disc”) was suspected but can only be diagnosed by MRI, a specialized and expensive procedure. Rex underwent an MRI on Monday March 1 – at a cost of $3,480.57 – which revealed a “markedly compressive right-sided L1-L2 intervertebral disc herniation,” KAR said. On Thursday March 4, Rex had surgery to correct the compression. He is currently hospitalized at a specialized veterinary clinic recovering from the intensive procedure. The surgery and associated costs are estimated to be $6,500, bringing the total of Rex’s medical care to nearly $10,000. Kingston Animal Rescue, a registered charity, is fundraising to cover the cost of the procedures. To date, $4,350 has been donated towards Rex’s care, the organization said. Rex isn’t the only Kingston Animal Rescue dog to need a specialized surgery. Jackson, a Dalmatian rescued in November 2020, requires Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to correct a torn cranial cruciate ligament in one of his back legs, the organization said in the release. KAR said this injury prevents Jackson from bearing weight on the leg and the corrective surgery is estimated at $4,500. Donations can be made on Kingston Animal Rescue’s website: https://www.kingstonanimalrescue.com/givenow Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
PARIS — First, France's president suggested that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “quasi-ineffective” in protecting older people from COVID-19. Now, Emmanuel Macron's government is begging people to take it. Germany finds itself in a similar situation. Berlin shifted gears on its cautious policy this week after an independent vaccine panel said the AstraZeneca shots should be used in people over 65. Top German officials on Friday argued against “vaccine shopping” and urged people to take whatever potential protection they’re offered. Mixed messaging has left many people in both countries confused or distrustful of governmental guidance on the AstraZeneca jab. Meanwhile, Europe's infections are rebounding and other people around the continent and the world are clamouring for access to any COVID-19 vaccine they can get. European governments' initial hesitancy around AstraZeneca's vaccine was based on limited data on whether it works on those over 65. But new data on its effectiveness — and pressure to accelerate the EU’s slow vaccine rollout and utilize unused AstraZeneca doses — prompted health authorities in multiple European countries this week to reverse course and allow its use for all ages. In France, all those who work with the sick or elderly have been eligible for weeks to get the AstraZeneca vaccine — but only 30% have taken it so far. Some have argued they want a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine instead, which are currently only available in France to the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions. So French Health Minister Olivier Veran was sending a letter Friday to all health workers urging them to get vaccinated. And if that doesn't work, he said he could convene a special ethics committee to weigh requiring them to do so. “Clearly that (30%) is not enough,” Veran told a news conference Thursday night. While paying homage to health workers, he said: “When you are a medical professional, it is your responsibility to protect ... yourself and your patients." At his side, a family doctor echoed the plea. “I appeal to my colleagues: Please come and get vaccinated," said Dr. Marie-Laure Alby, noting that her patients are eager to get any vaccine. The head of Germany’s disease control agency on Friday urged people to get vaccinated when given the opportunity. The comments from Robert Koch Institute President Lothar Wieler came amid reports that many in the country have declined the AstraZeneca shot over concerns it may not work as well as others. “If you are offered a vaccine, please get yourself vaccinated. They are safe and effective,” Wieler said, adding that getting large numbers of people inoculated is “the way out of the pandemic.” The vaccine made by British-Swedish company AstraZeneca is one of three authorized for use in the 27-nation European Union, though it has not yet received the green light from U.S. regulators. EU countries are also administering the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines — and French nurse Michele Freret said she’d prefer one of those. “If they vaccinate us with AstraZeneca and it is not as effective as Pfizer or others, then we will get COVID and there will be no medical staff to care for the people I care for,” she told The Associated Press. She's concerned about the virus — “I constantly test myself” — and the doctors and nurses who have lost their lives fighting it. But she said she and some colleagues feel the government is trying to get rid of extra AstraZeneca vaccines by foisting them on medical staff. France, which at more than 87,000 dead has among the highest coronavirus tolls in Europe, had as of Tuesday used only 25% of the 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines it has received. Restrictive rules and a rush of deliveries left Germany sitting on a stockpile of more than 2 million AstraZeneca doses this week. France's skeptics often repeat a comment last month by Macron, when he told reporters: “The real problem on AstraZeneca is that it doesn’t work the way we were expecting it to ... today everything points to thinking it is quasi-ineffective on people older than 65.” Hours after he spoke, the European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine's use for all ages, but the damage to its image had been done. Some also cite confusing early data on AstraZeneca's effectiveness, or question whether it works against new virus variants. The company is working on a new version to respond to evolving variants. The European efforts to rehabilitate the vaccine's reputation come as new infections rose 9% across the continent in the past week, halting six weeks of decline. ___ Rising contributed from Berlin. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Angela Charlton And Dave Rising, The Associated Press
You might be surprised at how easy it is to fix a cracked bumper cover. With normal tools like a soldering iron and a hot air gun, you can repair this bumper again so it is very strong and and will look very nice!
BERLIN — A German court on Friday temporarily blocked the country's domestic intelligence agency from putting the Alternative for Germany party under observation due to suspicions of extreme-right sympathies, as a legal appeal is heard. The Cologne state court said the party, known as AfD, could not be classified or treated as a “suspected case” of extremism until a decision was made on an emergency brief submitted by the party, after it alleged the intelligence agency broke a court order not to make such a classification public. In an ongoing legal battle, the AfD has been fighting against being classified as “suspected” by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, known by the initials BfV, arguing that the publicity surrounding such a move so close to the Sept. 26 national election would damage the party’s electoral chances. With court cases still pending, the BfV had been forbidden to make any announcement of such a classification, but on Wednesday the German press widely reported that BfV president Thomas Haldenwang had informed state branches of the intelligence service that the AfD had been deemed a “suspected case.” Though there was no announcement and the BfV refused to comment on the reports, the Cologne court said in its ruling that “everything points to the fact that the BfV didn't keep its promises of secrecy or has not taken enough precautions to ensure that procedurally relevant information leaks out.” Following the ruling, the AfD called for Haldenwang's resignation and for “political consequences” for his boss, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. “Who protects us from the protectors of the constitution?” AfD parliamentary leader Alexander Gauland asked reporters. The injunction issued Friday is in force until the AfD's overall legal case is concluded, but can be appealed, the court said. It was not immediately clear when there might be a ruling, despite AfD's request for an expedited decision. AfD entered Germany’s national parliament as the third-biggest party in the 2017 election, benefiting from a backlash at the time against the influx of more than 1 million asylum-seekers. It is currently the largest of four opposition parties in the national parliament and has lawmakers in all 16 state assemblies. The party has moved steadily to the right since it was founded in 2013 by critics of the shared euro currency. Several senior figures have quit in recent years, warning that the party is being taken over by far-right extremists. Recent polls have shown support for AfD, which won 12.6% of the vote in 2017, at between 9% and 11%. David Rising, The Associated Press
A webinar being held by Parkland College and the East Central Research Foundation (ECRF) will share with producers the results of three different research projects revolving around the use of nitrogen in crops. Research Coordinator with ECRF, Mike Hall, says everyone is welcome to take part in the webinar. “The webinar is going to be a little different in that the topics have been prerecorded as videos. We’re going to broadcast them to the participants and stop in between the different topics where I’ll be available to take questions. It’s something a little new that we haven’t tried before,” said Hall. The webinar will start by discussing ways to increase the protein in late-season crops through nitrogen while avoiding leaf burn. “The topics that we are covering are things such as trying to increase wheat grain protein with late-season applications of nitrogen. In particular, we’re going to discuss our comparisons between using straight UAN and dissolved urea, and the reason dissolved urea has some interest is because it’s supposed to be softer on the crop. When you’re spraying nitrogen on the crop late-season you have a risk of leaf burn and if you’re increasing grain protein in your crop because you’ve decreased yield, leaf burn becomes counterproductive. There are various ways you can apply late-season applications of nitrogen to try and reduce the injury, and that’s what we had a look at. In that study, we will be looking at the results from about 16 different site-yields from across Saskatchewan.” Hall says they will also be discussing newer malt barley varieties and their need for additional nitrogen. “We’re also looking at malt barley as well. Some of the newer varieties of malt barley are higher-yielding and if you’ve ever noticed, the higher-yielding a crop is, the lower the protein content of that crop becomes, because it gets diluted by the extra yield and starch that comes along for the ride in a higher yield. So we’ve made some comparisons between an old variety and compared it to a much higher yielding variety that can have up to a 20 per cent higher yield. Our question that we wanted to answer is that if we have higher yields, can we get away with adding more nitrogen in those crops since the protein content will be lower. We’re going to have a discussion around our results from that.” The final topic will see a discussion about oak test weights. Hall explained that adding nitrogen lowers the test weights and cost of oats but increases the protein, something Hall believes benefits the buyers. But if test weights are too low, they can be turned away from the market. “Lastly we will be talking about our oat test weight. When you’re selling oats into the market, grain milling companies prefer oats of certain test weights. They don’t want to see test weights fall below 245 grams per half-litre, and if they do they will discount them. And if they really fall low to 235 grams per half-litre they will outright reject them. As you increase nitrogen rates in the field of oats, you tend to decrease test weights. But not all varieties are created equal. Some varieties are better at maintaining test weights as nitrogen rates increase than others. “We’re going to have a look at two varieties in particular where one of them does really well in maintaining a higher test weight as you increase nitrogen rates while the other one does a poor job of it. We found that to be true when we conducted these experiments in what I call the good times and the bad, meaning during drought or during a year where we get adequate rainfall and high yield.” “This kind of research is small-plot research. We have a research farm that’s just South of Yorkton that is a collaborative effort of two organizations, Parkland College and the East Central Research Foundation, and we share equipment and resources. It’s made the farm much stronger having the two parties involved and so all the work that we do is small-plot replicated work. We have all the small, necessary equipment. With small plot work, we can do a wide variety of things and use statistics to make sure that what we’re seeing is a real difference when we do see yield differences.” Said Hall. “We mostly do field crop research. We’re looking at different fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and varieties. There’s a whole wide range of topics there. We’ll get into some forage results as well. We look at a lot of specialty crops and how well they’ll grow in our area as well as how to grow them. We’re not really set up to do any work with animals, so our research is mostly around field crop research.” The Research Farm works with local organizations in the are to continue operations. “ECRF has been around since 1996, but they originally started in Canora. When I came on in 2013, we moved the farm to Yorkton because we started the collaborative effort with Parkland College and then the City of Yorkton has provided us with a key piece of land and we’ve been slowly building a research farm on the rented land there. We’re right beside land owned by the Health Foundation here in Yorkton which is trying to raise money for a hospital. They will farm our fill areas between our research sites and they will make land swaps with us so that we can rotate our trials onto new land. It’s not good to put new trials onto old trials, so we like to give the land a break for three years where we can.” Around 25 different research projects are undertaken at the Yorkton Research Farm each year ranging from government-funded projects to projects given to them by other organizations. One such project that is underway is finding a use for saline soil. The solution that is currently being tested is the use of dormant seeding, which Hall says will potentially help the plants grow before the ground becomes too salty. “We’ve also tried dormant seeding some forage grasses into salty areas of a producer’s field last fall to try and establish some kind of cover for that land. These are areas where it’s so salty that it can’t raise a crop and it’s kind of a waste to seed in there. We’re trying to establish salt-tolerant grasses that can be used for cattle and that sort of thing. The difficulty is with these areas is that they can be wet in spring, so there is some difficulty getting in there to seed. And by the time you can get in there to seed, they’ve dried up enough that it just increases the saltiness of the land. So if we dormant seed them in the fall, they’re seeded so late in the fall that they don’t germinate until spring when weather conditions and salt conditions won’t be as bad and see if that helps them get a start on that land. We’ll see how that works out, we have a bunch of grass seeds and alfalfa in there that we’re trying.” Hall said. Those who wish to take part in the webinar are required to register by emailing email@example.com. The free webinar will take place Friday, March 5 at 10:00 AM via Zoom. Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
PERTH COUNTY – After receiving an email update from the Perth County Economic Development and Tourism department regarding steps being taken to draft a charter for inclusivity and anti-racism, the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron (MAPH) decided to cancel a protest at the county courthouse on Feb. 26. According to Sarah Franklin, economic development communications officer, Perth County has been hard at work planning the next steps in the process of the development of an anti-racism and inclusivity charter. She said a draft public engagement survey has been developed and is currently under third-party review. “We have engaged the assistance of Pillar Non-profit Network’s Equity and Inclusion Team to assist in the survey development and design,” she wrote in an email to the Listowel Banner. “They will also be assisting in the community roundtable process. Details for accessing the survey and roundtable opportunities will be released in the coming week.” A landing page has been created where updates about the project can be accessed: www.perthcounty.ca/Charter. Franklin told the Banner that Perth County has received input from the MAPH during this process and that there has been direct correspondence with them advising of the upcoming public engagement process. “We look forward to receiving further input from them and other community members as we launch the public engagement in the Charter development process,” she wrote. In its reply to Franklin which was also shared with local media outlets, the MAPH asked for flexibility in the timeline for the development of the charter. “We hope that the timeline can be extended if you need more input, to ensure the best possible result,” they wrote in their email. Regarding the survey, the MAPH asked for the opportunity to see it in advance, so as residents with lived experience, they could provide input to ensure it is inclusive in its design and has the opportunity for all to voice their thoughts and concerns. Regarding the survey, Franklin repeated that the county has “engaged the expertise of a third-party equity and inclusion team to assist in survey development and design before public release. The survey will gather some information and the community roundtables will be more in-depth conversations and information gathering.” Amina Musa, a volunteer with MAPH, said the reason they are asking to have input into the survey is that they want to make sure that this is something the county is acting in good faith. “If you are doing something in good faith don’t involve us in pieces,” she said. “We should be there from the beginning and make sure that the right questions are asked in the survey. That’s why we wanted to be involved from the beginning and not just piece by piece. We don’t want to be included when they are feeling ‘oh, we should call them in for this part.’” Personally, Musa said she feels this process is a step forward. “If we are going to take this route to reach our goal we’re willing to work together with them and make sure that we reach our goal,” she said. The MAPH has asked for a citizen’s committee to be involved in the development of the charter. They also feel a committee focusing on diversity and inclusivity would be a positive thing for the county to continue. “Our main goal is to have a committee,” said Musa. “Maybe they sat down and thought ‘oh – maybe we should start with the survey and doing all those things’ but to us, we will not stop until we make sure there is a committee that has been set up.” She said the committee should represent more than just visible minorities in Perth County such as people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community. “There is no voice for them so we want to make sure their voice is heard and if we are going to need one person from each or one person who will speak for all of them that’s fine but we want to make sure there is somebody there who is going to be their voice,” she said. MAPH founder Gezahgn Wordofa said they cancelled plans to protest because the MAPH wanted to treat the email from Franklin as a positive step. But, he said the decision to cancel the protest was not unanimous amongst their supporters throughout the county. “We have to assume good faith until you know otherwise, I think,” said MAPH board member Stephen Landers. “If down the road we realize that they are taking us for a ride – they are not acting in good faith then we’ll revert to protesting,” said Musa. Wordofa said a positive thing that has come out of recent events in Perth County is that many residents have stepped forward to show their support for the MAPH and newcomers. “You know we are so blessed with how many people we have behind us,” he said. “A lot of groups support us.” One thing Landers would like to see in the process to develop the charter is transparency. “Otherwise how do I know what you are doing and how is it coming,” he said. “Are you just letting it fall by the wayside or are you having regular reviews, updates and monitoring?” Wordofa said Franklin was not even letting the MAPH know who the third party is. “They should be more transparent with that,” said Musa. “That’s why we are asking to be involved from the beginning.” “We want to know with whom we are working,” said Wordofa. “We want to know with whom we are affiliated. Who is this organization?” The MAPH has seen a recent decline in its newcomer program. “Most of the newcomers have tried to move from here, from the area because of this situation,” said Wordofa. “They have a lot of anxiety now.” He wondered how economic development in this area is surviving because there is a close relationship between farms, factories and the newcomer population in the county. “We try to work together – we’re dealing with this every day because if (newcomers) are not included why should they come,” said Wordofa. “This is affecting us… If they are advertising to bring diversity to the area then they need to be welcoming.” The MAPH wants the charter to include concrete actions. “Broad principles won’t do it,” said Landers. Musa said many newcomers don’t want to live in big cities so they want to move to rural towns to raise their families. “When they come to… Perth or Huron County and they find all this racism – somebody like Gezahgn, he’s been living there for so long and yet he’s been told ‘go back to your country’ – you don’t want to experience that,” she said. “So we want to have somewhere that people are willing to come, they are looking forward to it – this is home.” Landers pointed out that if diversity is welcomed, new people with start putting down roots and a wider base of culture will develop in the area. “I am telling you the place is going to develop so much because Canada is built by immigrants and we have vast lands,” said Musa. “Changes will happen whether you resist or not. Change is going to happen so we may as well do it properly and work together as a team as opposed to having animosity and all those things.” “You waste your money bringing people here and then driving them away,” said Landers. “Why bother?” Wordofa said church groups and the community spend money to bring newcomers to the area and he feels sad when they end up moving away from the area. “It makes me cry,” he said. “It’s a loss for the community. That’s why most of the Listowel church groups are working with us. I want to say thank you to the community members who are supporting us.” Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
TORONTO — HBC has signed a deal to sell a minority stake in Saks Fifth Avenue's ecommerce business and turn it into a separate company.The retailer says private equity firm Insight Partners has agreed to invest US$500 million in a deal valuing the standalone business that will be known as Saks at US$2 billion.The retailer’s 40 stores will operate separately as an entity referred to as SFA, which will remain wholly owned by HBC. Marc Metrick, previously president and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, will serve as CEO of Saks and a member of the company’s board of directors. Larry Bruce will be president of SFA.HBC says Saks and SFA will be better able to plan and invest in their respective models as separate but related companies.The company says Saks and SFA will work together to continue delivering a seamless customer experience.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s corporate services committee took a closer look at development charges on Feb. 25 during a workshop called “development charges 101.” While some of the lower tier municipalities have development charges – Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce Peninsula, Kincardine and Saugeen Shores – this will be the first time for the county. The concept of development charges is based on the idea that growth should pay for growth – the alternative is having existing taxpayers carry the burden of growth. Development charges may be implemented to fund things that are outside what’s considered normal subdivision infrastructure, for example, roads, watermains and sewers. The idea is to keep the overall impact of growth to a minimum on existing taxpayers, said the consultants. However, existing taxpayers could pay part of the cost of growth, for example, if an arena were expanding from one ice pad to two. The general focus of the workshop was on what development charges can fund, and what they can’t. In September, a report on development charges was presented to the committee. A background study was included in the 2021-2025 budget and forecast. The consulting firm of Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. was retained to lead the study. This is the same firm that is conducting the growth study for the county, meaning consistent growth data would be used. The consultants will be presenting information on development charges at a number of meetings for council and members of the public. The first stakeholder meeting was held the afternoon of the presentation to the executive committee. A second such meeting is planned for June 10. A second council workshop is planned for July 8, time to be determined, followed by a third stakeholder meeting. A public meeting is planned for Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to noon, with the development charges bylaw to be passed at a later date. The consultants explained development charges are a fee charged by a municipality to recover growth costs. Growth costs are recovered to build new infrastructure supporting growth, pay down existing debt for past growth works, and avoid taxpayers paying for costs that serve growth. They don’t pay for operating costs or infrastructure renewal. That is paid for by taxes from new homes and businesses (assessment growth). As explained in the report to council, among the things development charges could fund are new buildings, expanded buildings and converted buildings. These are split into different classifications – residential, commercial, institutional and industrial. There is also an opportunity to make special fees or exemptions for some of the classifications or sub-classifications such as seniors special care facilities, affordable housing or wind turbines. The consultants said many municipalities exempt places of worship, although this may include only the part of the building actually used for worship and not halls rented out to the public. Other common exemptions include farm buildings, industrial development, downtowns, brownfields, hospitals and affordable housing. The consultants stressed it’s up to the county what they choose to exempt. One of the key topics covered in the workshop was legislation governing development charges, including new regulations and emerging issues. The county intends to implement development charges in a graduated manner, over time updating them. The development charges in the county will take into consideration a number of factors such as the business climate including housing demand, the pressures on the county and residents which may be leading to imbalances that can be addressed, in part, by development charges, and the development charges imposed by neighbouring counties. Committee members asked a number of questions including how bridges fit in to the system, whether its better to phase in the charges or implement them all at once, and exemptions. County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, mayor of Saugeen Shores, explained his municipality doesn’t have a lot of exemptions, having chosen to keep development charges as simple as possible. What they do have are “grants targeting certain types of development.” County Coun. Anne Eadie, mayor of Kincardine, said, “I look forward to the next steps.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
NORTH PERTH – PC Connect, which initially launched in November under a partial service model with reduced stops and adjusted hours, has now transitioned to the full-service model throughout Perth County, to Kitchener-Waterloo and London. The 50 per cent discount on fares has been extended until at least March 31. The lockdown from Dec. 26 to Feb. 16 had a substantial impact on current ridership. The project team is doing some outreach to local industries to see what adjustments can be made to the route schedules so that they work for employees using PC Connect. An update is being proposed to Route 1, which runs between Listowel and Conestoga Mall in Waterloo and the GO station in Kitchener. “Based on feedback and observations from the customers we’re proposing to change the route from direct Listowel to K-W to more of a loop which does allow us to put back in the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market stop and also permits us to have a bust stop for this route in Atwood,” said North Perth CAO Kriss Snell. After examining the stop times and locations it was determined the only location that is drastically affected is the change to Conestoga Mall. “It gets to Conestoga Mall a little later than originally proposed, but considering that stop is mostly with respect for people wanting to do shopping or excursions outside of the community I don’t see that as a drastic concern,” he said. “Unless someone has some concerns we’ll be asking the City of Stratford to make the route change.” The proposed route will run in a loop starting in Listowel and stopping in Atwood, Newton, Millbank, St. Jacobs, Conestoga Mall, Grand River Transit GO station, Elmira and back to Listowel. Mayor Todd Kasenberg asked whether council needed to give firm direction for this route change. “Not really because it’s not our project,” said Snell. “The City of Stratford is setting the routes though they have said many times they will take direction from North Perth on this.” Council agreed with the suggested route change. Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
GREY-BRUCE – An outbreak of COVID-19 has been reported at Brucelea Haven in Walkerton, after a staff member tested positive for the virus. The case was reported as Grey-Bruce moved into the ‘green – prevent’ level of the Ontario COVID-19 response framework. As of Tuesday morning, March 2, three new cases had been reported in the previous 24 hours – two in Grey Highlands and one in South Bruce. There are presently 12 active cases and 31 high-risk contacts. One person is hospitalized and there have been two deaths from COVID-19. The cumulative total number of cases in Grey-Bruce is 703. To date, 7,484 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. This includes residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, and 100 paramedics. Firefighters and police officers are receiving their vaccinations this week. Vaccination of adults 80 years of age and older also begins this week. All long-term care residents, staff and essential caregivers have received their first dose of the vaccine, and some have received their second dose. All high-risk retirement home staff and residents have also received their first dose, along with high and very high-risk health-care workers in hospital settings. The local health unit is getting a lot of calls from people 80 years old and over, who want to know when they will get their vaccine. The health unit reports it’s working with primary care providers in Grey-Bruce to get dose counts and clinics organized. People are advised not to call their health-care provider or the health unit to try to book an appointment. The vaccine is being administered by health-care providers and they will reach out to their patients directly. For people without a primary care provider, the health unit is working on a plan to ensure everyone will have access to the vaccine – details will be announced when plans are finalized. The health unit continues to work with limited vaccine supplies. A number of different clinic models will roll out this week in conjunction with primary care. For smaller practitioner-based clinics, the physician will call patients and make immunization arrangements. Certain larger family health team clinics with larger numbers of patients will hold local physician-led clinics. Certain community clinics will combine clients from a number of different physician practices for large numbers of clients. Public health will use the hub model and other community sites as practices identify needs for additional space, and anticipates opening larger community-based clinics when the province “goes live” with the online scheduling on March 15. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
FORMOSA – The Grade 8 students at Immaculate Conception School in Formosa joined a national campaign to eradicate racism and bring Indigenous children affected by the child welfare system home to their communities. The Moccasin Project (So They Can Go Home) is not a new concept to the school's Grade 8 teacher, Mary Steffan. She said she had a previous class participate in the project, which was the inspiration for this year's involvement. Steffan said the students developed knowledge of the issues Indigenous youth and children face and that “they do their best to raise awareness,” since participating in the project. The Community Liaison Committee (CLC) and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) provided funding for the project, formally presenting a cheque for $1,800 to the school on Feb. 25 in a special ceremony. In a letter to the CLC, Steffen explained that classes have been learning about Canada’s Indigenous community and the inequalities they face. In particular, students have learned that a disproportionate percent of children in foster care are Indigenous; 90 per cent in the case of Manitoba’s foster care system. "Through the...project, students make moccasins and send them back to the foundation along with letters for Indigenous infants in foster care,” a media release from the CLC said. “According to their website, this program aims to educate and raise awareness on child apprehension that is impacting Indigenous children in Canada and hopes to eradicate racism and reunite children with their communities and families.” The kits were distributed amongst several classes at Immaculate Conception as a result of the funding approved by CLC in December 2020. Students in Steffen’s class began making the moccasins at home during the period of virtual learning and completed them upon the return to school. The moccasins will be sent back when all the classes at Immaculate Conception complete them. “It’s so amazing to see kids helping kids, especially in times such as these, and the CLC and NWMO helped make that happen,” Steffan said. “The committee was happy to provide support to make this unique program taking place at Immaculate Conception School a possibility. It is positive to see local students receive education on Indigenous issues, and support youth across the country in the process,” said Les Nichols, CLC member. Da-giiwewaat (so they can go home) is a national campaign to raise awareness about child apprehension impacting Indigenous children in Canada. Their website said, “We are calling on everyone to get involved and help us make 165,000 (as reported by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations Child Welfare - Jan. 1, 2016) moccasins for Indigenous children affected by the child welfare system of Canada!” “The NWMO has committed to contribute to reconciliation and we are delighted to provide support to a local school to contribute to the ongoing learning of our youth,” said Cherie Leslie, NWMO senior engagement advisor. The donation came from the Early Investments in Education and Skills (EIES) fund. This NWMO funding program exists for capacity building purposes in communities that have ongoing participation in the Adaptive Phased Management (APM) project. It provides investments in education as well as training for youth and the community, and is made available annually to any of the elementary schools in the Municipality of South Bruce. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Les élus de Tadoussac ont octroyé un mandat à la Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) afin d’accompagner la municipalité dans le projet Destination Tadoussac phase 2. « La chargée de projets actuelle qui travaille sur le dossier va nous quitter dans deux semaines et on va travailler avec la FQM pour cheminer la dernière étape de ce projet », a expliqué la directrice générale Marie-Claude Guérin lors de l’assemblée extraordinaire le 24 février. « On n’a pas vraiment le droit à l’erreur avec le calendrier serré », d’ajouter le maire Charles Breton. Rappelons que la première phase de Destination Tadoussac s'est réalisée en 2020. Les travaux, dont les coûts ont été évalués à 1,8 M$, prévoyaient le réaménagement de l’espace situé devant l’église Sainte-Croix. Une place publique adjacente à l’église a été érigée ainsi que des voies piétonnières pour y accéder via la rue du Bord-de-l’Eau. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is setting aside $3 million to accelerate the process of awarding land titles in historically African Nova Scotian communities. Many African Nova Scotians live on land without clear title bequeathed to them by ancestors, limiting their ability to obtain mortgages, access housing grants or to sell their homes. African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince said today the money will help resolve claims without requiring residents to go to court. Government officials say the $3 million investment will help speed up a process that began in 2017 to help residents of North and East Preston, Cherry Brook/Lake Loon, Lincolnville and Sunnyville get clear land titles at no cost. Premier Iain Rankin says after working with African Nova Scotian communities, he learned there are barriers that need to be removed in order to ensure the success of the initiative. To date, the Land Titles Initiative has cleared 194 land parcels from more than 500 applications and more than 850 eligible parcels of land. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
More than a quarter of lawmakers worldwide are women after the proportion inched higher in 2020, but progress is so slow that it will take 50 years at the present rate before they achieve parity with men, a global body of legislatures said on Friday. "Although progress has been steady over the past few years, it is still excruciatingly slow," the Inter-Parliamentary Union, made up of 179 national member parliaments and 13 regional parliaments, said in an annual 'Women in Parliament' report. "At the current rate, it will take another 50 years before gender parity is achieved in parliaments worldwide," the Geneva-based IPU said.
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania on Friday refused to extradite to Belarus opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, with the Baltic nation's foreign minister saying “hell will freeze over first" before the demand by Belarus' authoritarian leader is granted. Tsikhanouskaya lost to Alexander Lukashenko in an Aug. 9 presidential election. Official results showed Lukashenko to have garnered 80% of the vote while Tsikhanouskaya received 10%. Tsikhanouskaya and her supporters refused to recognize the results, saying the outcome of the vote was manipulated. Unprecedented mass protests demanding Lukashenko's resignation rocked Belarus for several months. Tsikhanouskaya sought refuge in neighbouring Lithuania right after the election amid pressure from Belarusian authorities. On Tuesday, Belarus demanded her extradition on charges that she plotted to stage violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya’s team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that in his country people seeking shelter “can feel safe and no one would be handed over ... because of their fight for democracy, freedom of speech or freedom of religion.” Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The West has condemned the conduct of the election and the brutal crackdown on protesters. The United States and the European Union have said that the election was neither free nor fair and urged Lukashenko to engage in talks with the opposition, a demand he has rejected. International pressure has so far left Lukashenko, who has run the country for 26 years, relying exclusively on assistance from Russia, which has a union agreement with Belarus envisaging close political, economic and military ties. The Associated Press
Twitter Inc is testing an "undo send" function that would give users a short time to withdraw a tweet before it is posted, the company confirmed on Friday. App researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who discovers unannounced social media features by looking at the sites' code, tweeted an animation showing a tweet with a spelling error where an 'undo' button was available before a short timer ran out. A Twitter spokeswoman said the feature was being tested as part of the company's exploration of how subscriptions could work on the platform.
Canada's exports to the United States, its largest trading partner, rose sharply in January, leading to a surprise trade surplus, Statistics Canada said on Friday. Canada's trade surplus with the rest of the world was C$1.41 billion ($1.11 billion) in January, the largest since July 2014. "This is very strongly driven by our top trading partner," Hall said, noting that demand from the United States will continue to be strong as its economy strengthens with increased vaccinations spurring a broader recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.