Sunny warm day in this Manitoba neighbourhood.
Sunny warm day in this Manitoba neighbourhood.
The approval of a zoning bylaw amendment could allow for a fire fighting academy to be built in a Tay Township hamlet. The application coming forward for public consultation this Wednesday evening is seeking to add “private career college” as a site-specific permitted use on the property located at 36 Hazel St., which is presently zoned institutional. The new use is to facilitate the land to be used for a firefighting training and education facility by Southwest Fire Academy (SFA). The application is also seeking some accessory uses for the college building, specifically allowing for overnight accommodations for a maximum of 15 consecutive nights. Other site-specific uses include one detached accessory building, outdoor parking and storage of a vehicle to be used for training purposes, the outdoor use of a decommissioned railroad car for the purpose of training, and a minimum of 37 off-street parking spaces for the college. The application also specifically states that no live fires are proposed for the site. The 2.18 acres of land is surrounded by low-density residential areas and backs onto 175 m of Trans Canada Trail. The site was the former Waubaushene Elementary School and had been vacant since 2015. The submitted application also includes comment from the Severn Sound Environmental Association, which has written in saying that no environmental impact study is required for the land in question. The letter also states that there are no woodlands, wetlands, or areas of natural and scientific interest on the property. The SSEA also recommends that property owners are responsible for ensuring that activity being undertaken on the property does not contravene with any applicable legislation or regulations under the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The presentation included in the agenda also answers a question asked by the township's chief administrative officer around mitigating noise for surrounding houses. The presentation states that strategic landscaping to supplement privacy and screening from abutting residential areas. Residents with questions and comments can contact Steven Farquharson, general manager, protective and development services via email at email@example.com or by phone at (705)534-7248 ext. 225. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed online via Zoom or via the township's website. An audio-only version of the meeting can be accessed via telephone by calling (705)999-0385 and entering meeting ID number 851 7203 4877 followed by .Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Good morning! This is our daily news roundup with everything you need to know in one concise read. Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox every morning.As COVID-19 cases soar and regions lock down, Dr. Tam has a blunt message about holiday planningOn a day that saw Ontario and Manitoba announce record-high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, two provinces pull out of the much-lauded Atlantic bubble and close their borders, and millions of people in different regions of the country plunge back into lockdowns reminiscent of last spring, Canada's chief public health officer said the tighter rules are a necessary evil right now. "The longer you wait to increase the measures, the longer it would take to come out of the restrictions," Dr. Theresa Tam told The National co-host Andrew Chang. She said that over the past several months, provincial and territorial medical officers of health tried hard to achieve a balance where they could keep up with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing while keeping society open. "It's just something that people have never tried in the history of the last hundred years," Tam said. "They were trying really hard to minimize impact on the economic side, on schools, on work.... It's just not an easy thing to do."WATCH | Tam says the message around holidays is the same no matter where in Canada you live:In the past month alone, Canada's number of confirmed or presumptive cases rose by more than 125,000, increasing from 211,732 on Oct. 23 to 337,555 on Monday. Provinces are seeing daily case counts higher than they ever saw during the first wave. And so now, with the holiday season just weeks away, Canadians are wondering if one of the bright spots in Canada's long, dark winter will be another casualty of 2020 — and whether the country will ever get off the roller-coaster of flattening the curve only to see cases soar again. Tam is blunt when it comes to the upcoming holiday season: No large gatherings. Keep it small. Keep it within your own household. "Christmas is not going to be having any kind of large group interactions," she said. "Even with family, you've got to really think twice. Avoid non-essential travel. Keep to your current household contacts as much as possible." Read more on this story here.Simian serenade(Prapan Chankaew/Reuters)British musician Paul Barton plays the piano for the macaques that occupy the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple site in Lopburi, Thailand, in this photo taken Nov. 21. The audience was a bit unruly as they climbed all over him, pulled his hair and tried to eat his sheet music. Barton said he hoped the music might calm the animals at a time when the pandemic-caused drop in Thailand's tourism industry means fewer visitors to feed them, and less money for their welfare.In briefAlberta has reached a "precarious point" in the coronavirus pandemic, the province's top doctor said Monday upon reporting 1,549 new cases and five more deaths. The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also said there were 13,166 active cases in Alberta — surpassing Ontario's 13,004 for the most in the country. Hinshaw said she was meeting with a cabinet committee "to discuss a series of new measures to reduce the rising spread of COVID-19," and said a detailed update would be coming today. "We must take action. Waiting any longer will impact our ability to care for Albertans in the weeks and months ahead," she said. Read more on this story here.WATCH | Alberta faces pressure for increased restrictions as COVID-19 cases 'snowball':The Canada Revenue Agency says it's warning about 213,000 Canadians who may have been paid twice through the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) program that they could be called upon to repay the money. But repayment isn't required right away, says the agency. The CRA has suspended collection of debts for the duration of the pandemic emergency. "The Canada Revenue Agency … has issued letters to individuals who may have applied for the Canadian emergency response benefit … from both Service Canada and the CRA, and who may be required to repay an amount to the CRA," an agency spokesperson said in an email. "We will resume collections activities when it is responsible to do so, including collection of debts related to CERB payments." The agency is still recommending people pay back any CERB funds to which they're not entitled by the end of the year, warning that if they don't, the sum will appear on T4A tax slips and will need to be reported as income on next year's tax return. Read more about the possible CERB repayments. Canada has turned away at least 4,400 asylum seekers at the U.S. border since 2016 — including some who were hoping to find refuge here at the height of the global pandemic — according to newly released government figures. Nearly half of those trying to enter Canada over that nearly five-year period made the attempt in the year after U.S. President Donald Trump took office. The figures were released in response to a parliamentary request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan. Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, which has been in effect since 2004, Canada and the U.S. consider each other to be "safe countries" for refugees and require them to make their claims in the country they arrive in first. The agreement has long faced criticism and legal challenges from refugee advocacy groups, who say the agreement is an inhumane way to limit the number of people Canada accepts as refugees. They say the U.S. is not a safe country for all refugees and that the dangers they face have increased under the Trump administration. Read more about the figures on asylum seekers. NAV Canada, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is considering cutting air traffic controller jobs at seven towers across Canada in an effort to save money as the global health crisis continues to drag down air traffic. CBC News obtained an internal memo from Nav Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson informing staff that the not-for-profit company that operates Canada's civil air navigation system is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario, which "will result in workforce adjustments." The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Que. These locations were identified as having low air-traffic levels, even prior to the pandemic, the memo said. Some aviation experts and airlines warn that the cuts would amount to removing a layer of protection. "It would degrade the level of safety at Whitehorse," said Joe Sparling, president of Whitehorse-based airline Air North. "We would encourage Nav Canada to look for other cost reduction measures." Read more about possible NAV Canada cuts here. U.S. president-elect Joe Biden can start the formal transition of power process after the federal agency that must sign off on it said Monday that he could. "I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you," General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden. Yesterday, Michigan certified Biden's victory in that state, while a judge in Pennsylvania over the weekend threw out a lawsuit from U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign that sought to block certification in that state. The move by the GSA means Biden's team will now get federal funds and an official office to conduct his transition. Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will also get access to the regular national security briefings that Trump gets. Read more about the transition here.WATCH | Trump allows co-operation in presidential transition as Biden chooses cabinet:Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honey combs. Tristan Kennedy, 5, shared that joke and more than 100 other knee-slappers outside his home in Pitt Meadows, B.C., this spring in an effort to brighten up the days of his neighbours during the pandemic. For 155 days straight starting in April, Kennedy and his mother, Naya Kohout, searched for jokes and then shared them on a sign at the end of their driveway, with the setup line written up and posted on one side and the punchline on the other. Despite hearing a few groans from those bemoaning the jokes, the response was so positive they asked passersby if they would be interested in a book of jokes. Kohout says the demand was there, so they put together an offering. To date, they have sold more than 120 books, and raised more than $1,200, which they are donating in equal parts to the Ridge Meadows Senior Society and the Friends in Need Food Bank. Read more here about the joke book.Front Burner: Virus rages in 'precarious' AlbertaIn the first wave of the pandemic, Alberta was one of the provinces that seemed to have things relatively under control. Now, the province has daily case rates three times as high as Quebec or Ontario, and ICUs in Calgary and Edmonton have been hitting 90 per cent capacity. But Premier Jason Kenney hasn't addressed the province at a COVID-19 briefing for almost two weeks, and has resisted repeated calls for lockdowns from doctors and other experts. It's leading some Albertans to tweet the hashtag WhereIsKenney. Today, Jason Markusoff of Maclean's joins us to talk about how Alberta got here, and what happens now.Today in history: November 241892: Sir John Abbott, third prime minister of Canada and the first PM born in Canada, steps down due to ill health. He is succeeded by Sir John S. D. Thompson. 1937: The Canadian Authors Association sets up the Governor General's Literary Awards. Bertram Brooker wins the first award for his 1936 novel Think of the Earth. 1980: Moretta (Molly) Reilly, the first woman in Canada to get an airline transport pilot's licence and a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, dies in Edmonton at the age of 58. 1981: The Metric Commission of Canada announces the full conversion to the metric system in food stores across Canada. The changeover from imperial units to metric was implemented simultaneously in 21 areas across Canada in January 1982 and covered the rest of the country within two years. 1987: Jehane Benoît, called Canada's first lady of cuisine who published 25 cookbooks and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1973, dies at age 83.
Saskatchewan health policy consultant Steven Lewis has watched from the relative safety of Melbourne, Australia, as COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have spiked back in his home province.The southern Australian city of five million people, where Lewis is currently living, is now COVID-free and in the process of lifting restrictions.Lewis, who has advised governments in several provinces and countries, agreed to share his thoughts on Saskatchewan's rapidly deteriorating COVID-19 situation — which saw nearly 3,000 active cases and more than 100 people in hospital as of Monday.On Monday, the province announced four more people with the virus had died and that Premier Scott Moe is in isolation after a recent potential exposure in the Prince Albert area.Lewis said the three-month lockdown in Australia was difficult, but that residents generally agreed it was necessary. Those tempted to flout the rules were slapped with large fines. Lewis said he isn't recommending an Australia-style lockdown, but that one thing is clear: the Saskatchewan government's "half-assed" approach will simply prolong the pandemic's devastating effects on people's health and the economy.The following comments by Lewis have been condensed and edited.On 'high-risk venues'Lewis: It's crazy to allow bars and restaurants and gyms to stay open. They are known worldwide to be three sites where infections take off. Alcohol is a disinhibitor. Loud music makes people lean in and talk louder to be heard over it, expelling more droplets. People exercising strenuously breathe more heavily, sweat, expel. On gatheringsAll mass gatherings, including church services, weddings, funerals, should be locked down, and [there should be] very strong prohibition of socializing at home with non-family members.On mandatory masksAt least [Saskatchewan] has mandatory mask wearing indoors in public spaces. But responding too late can't be undone. It may be useful prospectively but the numbers got bigger than they had to.On enforcing the rulesI don't have strong enough evidence to suggest cause and effect, but enforcement appears to matter.Here in Victoria [Australia], population 6.5 million, since March the police have issued about 25,000 tickets for COVID non-adherence violations, at an average of about $1,200, which is pretty steep. I do think this, combined with the 8 p.m. curfew that was in place for weeks, was a deterrent for young people.What we've learned is that even if messaging is well-done and broadly effective, a small number of non-adherers can spark a new cluster that quickly expands. When 95 per cent adherence isn't good enough, you cannot rely on moral suasion or appeals to civility.On contact tracingOnce numbers get beyond double-digits per day, contact tracing becomes virtually useless. It's just too labour-intensive, people may not have good recall, and there is still stigma and suspicion of authority, so people may not disclose their contacts.On testingCanada is still terrible at testing.Slovakia tested just about the entire adult population in a weekend and then repeated a weekend later. They found about a 1 per cent positive rate the first weekend and directed the infected to isolate. The positive rate the second weekend was a lot lower, no doubt because the first one removed the positives and kept them out of the population.My understanding is that it is still hard for asymptomatic people (in Canada) to get a publicly provided test and the results take days rather than hours.On the Saskatchewan government's 'slowdown' plan[Health professionals] have I think justifiably hammered the government for it's half-assed and complicated approach.It is increasingly clear that you can't slow-walk the pandemic with a fine-tuned balancing act that keeps the economy humming while keeping daily case rates at a predictable and low level. It's too volatile, there are too many asymptomatic transmissions, and there's too big a time-lag between when you are infected and when you know you are.So you have to come down hard and fast and universally to flatten the curve quickly. If you have to stop and start and stop and start, it's just as disruptive for businesses and the pain is prolonged. Bottom line: Saskatchewan has been tested by the second wave and largely failed. It was stupid to differentiate between urban and rural Saskatchewan [on mandatory masks] and it's really stupid to keep known high-risk venues open. The virus doesn't care if you're going to a bar or to church. It's going to bite people in both places if you keep them open.
Stratégie Carrière mise sur la régionalisation de l’immigration et tente de convaincre des familles montréalaises de s’établir dans la région. L’objectif: combler les besoins en main-d’œuvre des entreprises locales, mais aussi de lutter contre la dévitalisation de cette région où la moyenne d’âge est l’une des plus élevées au Québec. Stratégie Carrière vient, en ce sens, de recevoir une aide de près de 120 000 $ sur trois ans du ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI). L’initiative n’est ni nouvelle ni unique ; nombre de régions québécoises tentent le coup. À Trois-Rivières comme ailleurs, les efforts semblent peu à peu produire des résultats. Stratégie Carrière convainc, chaque année, une quinzaine de familles immigrantes de s’établir en Mauricie avec, à la clé, un emploi gardé au chaud. Beaucoup viennent de France, du continent africain et de l’Amérique latine, précise Luce Ricard, chargée de projet — régionalisation chez Stratégie Carrière. « Ils finissent toujours par trouver un emploi. Malgré la pandémie, il y a des secteurs qui ont le vent dans les voiles, comme le domaine du textile, de la désinfection des locaux par pulvérisateur et dans le domaine de la santé et de l’éducation. On réussit à placer nos candidats et à leur trouver un salaire parfois plus attrayant que celui de la PCU, récemment rebaptisé», indique Luce Ricard. Convaincre les familles Pour convaincre des familles immigrantes établies à Montréal d’accorder leur faveur aux régions, Stratégie Carrière entretient des liens serrés avec quatre organismes de la métropole. Parmi eux, Carrefour Blé, Promis, Collectif, et Alpa. L’organisation trifluvienne collabore aussi en Mauricie avec le Service d’accueil des nouveaux arrivants et la Ville de Trois-Rivières. La pandémie est toutefois venue brouiller les projets de Stratégie Carrière. La directrice de l’organisme constate que les nouveaux arrivants sont souvent ceux qui perdent leur emploi en premier. «Par contre, il y a certains secteurs qui sont encore pénurie de main-d’œuvre et ça nous permet de les replacer rapidement », assure Annie Jean. Il est clair que la pandémie aura joué les trouble-fêtes, à plus d’un titre. Les salons de l’emploi sont à proscrire, les déplacements déconseillés, les rencontres en personne aussi. L’organisme devra nul doute revoir ses objectifs à la baisse. « Dans le contexte actuel, c’est un peu une boule de cristal. On essaie d’extrapoler en fonction de nos références antérieures, mais il est difficile de savoir comment va réagir le marché du travail et comment va s’articuler la reprise économique. On est un peu dans l’œil du cyclone. Quand on va en émerger, on sera en mesure de mieux diriger nos efforts, explique Annie Jean. Le ministère comprend bien la situation .» Pour l’heure, Stratégie Carrière demeure donc en mode veille, mais continue de vanter les mérites de la région et de ses entreprises. « On fait valoir le fait que c’est une ville à échelle humaine, qu’il y a de grands espaces, un atout non négligeable en ces temps de COVID-19. Il y a une vitalité économique, tout le réseau scolaire et une qualité de vie. On est en train de semer. C’est un travail de long terme. Quand les gens viennent ici, ils se rendent compte qu’ils y gagnent », conclut Mme Jean.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
There’s cheer and laughter as community members trim the trio of Christmas trees on the stage in Brighton’s Memorial Park one recent chilly November evening. With the frosty branches, sparkling lights and shiny ornaments, the setting will provide a picturesque backdrop when Santa Claus comes to town next month. It’s also giving downtown Brighton a festive feel. From hosting Old St. Nick, to launching a new shop local incentive to introducing a holiday decorating contest, the Municipality of Brighton, the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and others are kicking off the holiday season. Uniting each of these initiatives is the theme of supporting the Brighton business community as much as possible – whether it’s warming up with a hot chocolate, stopping by to wave to Santa or finding the perfect gifts. Ben Hagerman, Brighton’s economic development and communications manager, is hopeful a new initiative, made possible through a Bay of Quinte Tourism sponsorship, will kick-start local holiday shopping. “It’s a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking,” Hagerman said. Shoppers spend $200 on holiday gifts at Brighton businesses and submit a photo of their receipts that total $200 or more to the municipality and the first 11 people to do so will each receive five free garbage bag tags, which are valued at $4 each. “Basically, you get back 10 per cent (of the $200 spent), which is kind of nice.” The incentive kicks off this week. “We’d really like it to be gift-oriented,” Hagerman noted. Instead of leaving Brighton or shopping from big retailers online, he’s optimistic that this will entice people to spend their holiday dollars here. “It’s about using the businesses and services we have locally to complete your Christmas shopping list as best as you can. I’d like to see people go into local restaurants and buy gift cards for people. I’d like to see people utilizing our wonderful boutiques in our downtown core whether it’s ladies’ wear, shoes or books. We’ve also got a great selection of retail up in the industrial park. There’s so much to offer…by shopping right where you live,” Hagerman said. As the owner of a Brighton-based business, Sheryl Delorme said the experience of shopping local can’t be matched. “The personalized approach, better customer service, the one-on-one connection that is created is worth its weight in gold,” said Delorme, Special Effects Lifestyle Boutique’s artist, designer and redesign specialist. “When you get to know the person behind the business, you appreciate their passion, their motivation and desire to create something truly exclusive. The investment far outreaches the product or service that you may have purchased. These solitary businesses also invest back into their community by sponsoring many local initiatives and events -- in the neighbourhood of about 48 per cent is returned back to the very place you call home,” she said. “This movement of supporting small business creates a certain flavour, a kinship that can only be created by offering your heart and soul to the cause. This is not a get-rich quick scheme or a one-shot deal, it's a commitment to create something real, something lasting for the neighbourhood that you reside in.” To get residents into the festive spirit, Brighton also launched a holiday decorating contest Nov. 20, which runs through to Dec. 14. Business owners and homeowners are encouraged to decorate their storefronts and homes and share photos of their displays for a chance to win pre-paid VISA gift cards to use at local businesses. There will be a total of 30 winners – 15 from the urban area and 15 from rural parts of the municipality. The DBIA and the municipality have each donated 15 $100 gift cards intended for use in the downtown core. Upload a photo to the municipality’s website Winners will be chosen through a random draw. Finally, to engage Brighton’s children in holiday fun, Santa Claus is slated to stop by Memorial Park on Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I think this year, more than ever, Santa in Brighton will bring a sense of normalcy to our younger citizens,” said Sarah Hilwerda, chair of the DBIA. “Even a wave and wink from the fella in the red suit will do just fine for the time-being. Physical distancing protocols will of course be in place but it’s the best we can do. A lot of folks aren’t in a position to take their kids shopping to the big box stores or the mall this year, so our downtown will provide a safe place to see Santa,” Hilwerda said. She reminded youngsters to be sure to bring their letters for St. Nick. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C. who this week will become the first African-American cardinal, said on Tuesday he wanted to find common ground with the incoming U.S. administration despite disagreements on some issues. Gregory, who clashed with President Donald Trump earlier this year, is one of the 13 Roman Catholic Church prelates whom Pope Francis will raise to the rank of cardinal on Saturday. The American Church is divided over many issues, including abortion.
A group of medical students from Memorial University are in the midst of running one of St. John's most challenging routes every day for an entire month, sweating it out up Signal Hill in support of Newfoundland and Labrador's Arthritis Society.The idea for November's event, called Hills for Humanity, sprang from second-year students Brett Holloway and Joey Landine, both of whom are part of the newly-created MunMed Adventure Sports Club. The group organized a previous fundraiser running a 50-kilometre race on the East Coast Trail earlier this year, and were looking for a new challenge when the calorie-burning idea came to mind."Me and Joey were chatting one evening and we thought it would be neat to get something started that would kind of engage the community a little bit and [bring] a bit more public awareness," Holloway said Sunday."It gives us an opportunity to kind of showcase what we've been doing in the community."The group settled on the idea of tackling the three-kilometre run on the Signal Hill trail in St. John's, and chose a cause close to one of their members, Claire Neilson. Neilson, a first-year student from Charlottetown, P.E.I. lives with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and pitched the idea of helping the local arthritis society."It's been something that I really struggled with for a long time. But I found that through exercise it really helps mitigate the bad effects of the disease," Neilson said."I kind of put forward the idea of the arthritis society because they took really good care of me when I was in the pediatric centre back in Halifax. They agreed and here we are."Windy, cold, and slipperyThe team has split up the running schedule over the course of the month, with most members completing the run around five times each. Landine said the area's weather conditions can present a challenge, particularly in November, but that's part of the fun."Everyone knows Signal Hill is windy and cold sometimes, so every day provides a new challenge for sure." he said."We've definitely had a couple of days that were a little bit slippery, so we have to make sure we watch ourselves during those," Emily Collis, a first-year student from St. John's added. "But it's been a really great challenge."Neilson has completed the run five times throughout November, and said the idea of running for a cause so close to her has been rewarding since the arthritis and medical community has given her so much help and support."I think this is a really good way to kind of dive both feet in, especially with COVID and the fact that we're not actually allowed to be in the clinics interacting with the community," she said. "It's kind of nice to be able to give back in this little more of an interactive way.""To be able to give back is just an awesome feeling," Collis said.The running crew enters the home stretch this week, and had raised $950 as of Sunday.They're inviting others to join them in the final push, including Premier Andrew Furey, who they said they would love to run with if the opportunity came.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Depuis le printemps, les amateurs de danse sont privés d’un loisir qui occupe souvent une place importante dans leur vie. Comment s’adaptent-ils à cette situation ?
Despite growing up around agriculture, nobody ever told Britney Condotta that she could grow up to be a farmer herself. “For a very long period of time, in the farming community, it was the son of the farmer that would take over the farm and farming practices,” Condotta recently said while bending dried willow into a future Christmas wreath. There wasn't the mentality, says Condotta, to justify agriculture being the sort of business a woman could get into. Now, at 32 years old, she farms a bountiful garden full-time under the name of Cultivate Niagara at her parent’s winery, Honsberger Estate. There she produces herbs, greens, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and squash for the winery’s restaurant and for preserves. “I get a real reward out of working with the earth in a really different way than I’ve ever heard men my age speak about it,” she said. “When I talk to women, it’s a joy; they love the physical engagement in the earth.” One of Condotta’s favourite times of the year is when the garlic shoots emerge from the earth after the last frost – a signal that the growing season has begun. Considering herself a feminist, Condotta said that feminism in farming “isn’t the absence of man,” but the belief that women “are just as well equipped” for farming as men. “I don’t think my (gender) makes any difference, it’s just the way my mind works,” she explained. In her mind, women bring creativity to farming and are stepping up to farm at a time when men seem to be stepping back – a change she believes will save smaller farms and is made possible thanks to an increasing focus on gender equality. There are, however, still unique challenges facing women in agriculture – such as raising a four-year-old, for one. The crops don’t simply stop growing, and the work doesn’t disappear. Instead, it’s another task added to the plate she’s trying to balance. “Being a mother is very difficult; it’s expected of you that when your kid’s sick, you’re off,” she said. Condotta is forthcoming in saying she still hasn’t come to terms with raising her son, Forrest, while simultaneously producing food, and the priority she feels is given to her husband’s job over hers. But the challenges of raising children while farming aside, Condotta believes it’s mentality presenting the biggest setback to women getting into agriculture right now. “There is this delicacy to the moment that we’re living in … I think we need to speak out and we need to be very vocal and we need to be very visual about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and be very proud of what we’re doing,” she said. Her hope is for young girls to see the knowledge, power, innovation and creativity that women bring, and to know with confidence that they, too, can be women in agriculture.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
When Canadian trade negotiators begin talks with the United Kingdom next year on a permanent bilateral trade deal, their hands could be tied when it comes to offering any future dairy, egg or poultry concessions — if Parliament passes a new private member's bill that saw its first hour of debate on Tuesday.Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon's legislation, Bill C-216, would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" that would increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.Canada protects its agriculture supply management system for these commodities by carefully controlling access to its domestic market. Only small quantities of imports are allowed under strict international quotas — TRQs — with high tariffs keeping any extra imports above and beyond these quotas from being cost-competitive.But the three major trade deals implemented by the Liberal government over the last four years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Pacific Rim markets and, most recently, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (the new NAFTA) — all offered new access to Canada's domestic market, among other concessions required to land these deals."Something very important for milk and egg and poultry production is given away as a token and nothing comes back for those producers, so we say in the law that this should not happen anymore," Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet told CBC News last week."[The Liberal government says,] 'Oh, we will will compensate you. And you know what? They don't."No word on NAFTA compensationA few weeks before the 2019 general election, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced compensation for dairy farmers to cover their anticipated losses from CETA and CPTPP, which were already both in effect at the time. That financial assistance rolled out last winter.Help has also been pledged to compensate for the even larger concessions in the new NAFTA but nothing further has been announced. American farmers got access to a greater share of Canada's starting July 1 — and the new NAFTA also dictates how dairy ingredients can be priced and slapped strict export limits on sensitive global commodities like skim milk powder and baby formula.Blanchet slammed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for taking so long to present her fall economic update and said her spending plan must include the NAFTA compensation farmers anxiously anticipate."This money is owed, is expected [and] is terribly late," he said.Freeland announced Monday that she'll present her update on Nov. 30.Bill could block British demandsIf Plamondon's legislation garners enough support to pass in this Parliament before the next election, the first trade negotiation it could affect is talks between Canada and the United Kingdom to reach a permanent, comprehensive deal to liberalize their bilateral trade post-Brexit.On Saturday, prime ministers and trade ministers from both sides announced they'd reached agreement on a transitional deal to offer continuity for businesses by continuing most of the terms of the CETA past Jan.1, when it was otherwise set to expire because the U.K. is no longer an EU member.The government won't release details of exactly what's in that transitional agreement until the legal text is ready, which usually takes another two to four weeks. But Doug Forsyth, Canada's lead negotiator in the talks, confirmed previously that the British were seeking additional tariff-free access to Canada's cheese market."I want to be very clear that there is no new market access for cheese here in this transition agreement," International Trade Minister Mary Ng told CBC News at Saturday's announcement.But yesterday at the Commons trade committee, Ng's parliamentary secretary, Rachel Bendayan, said that language in the transitional deal commits both sides to returning to the table to reach what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a "bespoke" bilateral deal by 2024.That means the British could make another play to get more U.K. cheeses into Canada."By 2024, Canada will have transferred 18 per cent of its domestic dairy production to dairy farmers in other countries ... that will displace our domestic products on the grocery shelves," said Pierre Lampron, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement sent to CBC News last weekend. "Another concession as part of a trade agreement with the U.K. would have been dramatic for the industry."Officials had told us there would be no further concessions, and they followed through, but we must remain vigilant as this is a provisional agreement."Vote unclearBased on remarks made during Tuesday's first hour of debate, it appears Conservative MPs may not support this bill, but a party spokesperson has yet to comment on it or confirm how the Official Opposition will vote.In an email to CBC News, party spokesperson Melanie Richer said New Democrats agree with the Bloc that compensation has been slow to roll out, adding that "the Liberals added insult to injury by bringing CUSMA into effect several weeks earlier than promised, robbing Canadian dairy farmers of a full year to prepare for the change in their local markets.""New Democrats have consistently decried the damage done to Canada's dairy sector in successive trade deals and we have said we would not do the same," Richer said. "This bill would add legal force to that position."Youmy Han, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Ng, said the government is still studying the bill and would not say how Liberal MPs might vote."We have been clear: our government will not grant any further market access in our supply-managed sectors in any future trade negotiation," Han said.MPs will vote on the bill at second reading after its second hour of debate, expected later this winter.
Many gardeners, even in colder regions, inch closer and closer each year to the goal of growing a year-round supply of vegetables.Corn, peppers, green beans, and okra are tucked away in freezers, tomatoes are canned, and turnips, beets, and winter squashes can be in “fresh” storage in refrigerators, and even cool mudrooms, garages and basements.Best of all, though, are those vegetables that can still be picked fresh from the garden. No reason to throw in the towel yet: These vegetables can continue on through some snow and temperatures dropping to the teens.WHAT TO GROW FOR FALL (POSSIBLY WINTER) EATINGLettuce, endive, spinach and parsley are among the cold-hardiest vegetables. Except for parsley, which requires a long season so needs to be sown earlier in summer, late summer plantings of these cold-hardy vegetables could have begun just as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other warm season crops were waning. That row of parsley might no longer looks like a dense green, miniature rococo landscape, but it’s still tasty.Other vegetables round out the fresh salads. Rocket, or arugula, is quite cold-hardy. A few radishes are still crisp and pungent.One of the hardiest of fresh salad greens, and also one of the tastiest, is mache, also known as corn salad. The delicate flavour and tender, spoon-shaped leaves belie this plant’s tolerance for frigid weather. Rather than plant mache, I just let it plant itself: Overwintered plants self-seed in early summer but the seeds don’t sprout until the cool weather of later summer. I transplant the young plants in early autumn.PROTECTION TO EXTEND THE HARVESTOver the years, my own autumn salad vegetables have greeted cold weather beneath a variety of protective structures. One year, they were sheltered beneath homemade plexiglass A-frames., another year beneath miniature glass greenhouses held together by wires, and yet another year within bottomless wooden boxes covered with clear glass.This year, I draped “floating row covers” — diaphanous materials that hold in some heat yet allow passage of air, light and water — on metal hoops over my lettuces and endives. Some beds get metal hoops draped with clear plastic, which lets in more sunlight, but not as much cold protection. Now’s not too late to rig up some protective covering for these cold-tolerant plants.A GOOD SITE ALSO HELPSLeaves of any salad plants in sheltered nooks often remain lush green and turgid long after their counterparts at more exposed sites have turned watery green and flaccid. For instance, spinach and lettuce planted with their backs against a house or garage wall are not exposed to quite as much cold as plants growing farther away. And any structure, even a low stone wall, soaks up heat as the sun beats on it by day, then releases this solar energy gradually through the night, to the benefit of nearby plants.This time of year, tender, edible leaves are least likely to be found on plants given an eastern exposure. Leaves frozen at night cannot stand immediate thawing from the morning sun.Although spinach, lettuce, mache, endive and parsley are alive, they’re not growing. The weather’s too cold and there’s too little light. The leaves of these plants are just sitting, waiting to be harvested.Very soon, temperatures will get low enough to put a permanent end to the fresh vegetable harvest for the season, at least here in Zone 5 (average minimum temperature -20 degrees Fahrenheit).The roots of most spinach, leek, parsley and corn salad plants, and maybe a few of the lettuce plants, will survive outdoors, even though their leaves will freeze. In the spring, these roots will fuel growth of succulent new leaves, the first harvest next season, well before any new seedlings are large enough to harvest.I contend that those first pickings in the spring and these last pickings in autumn taste better than any salad greens you can buy.___Lee Reich writes regularly about gardening for The Associated Press. He has authored a number of books, including “Weedless Gardening” and “The Ever Curious Gardener.” He blogs at http://www.leereich.com/blog. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Lee Reich, The Associated Press
After a two-week controversy that sparked a petition, protest and several arrests in connection with threats against local elected officials, the city of Longueuil is ditching its plan to capture and put down 15 deer.Mayor Sylvie Parent says the city will work with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry to find a safe location for the animals.In a written statement issued Monday night, Parent said the city had no choice but to scrap the plan, despite having gotten the approval from the province's experts and "a large consensus within the scientific community", "The threat posed today by certain people in order to harm, or even thwart the implementation of the deer population's cull in Michel-Chartrand park forces us to consider another option."The city had originally said euthanizing the 15 deer — about half of the park's population — was necessary to preserve vegetation in the area.In the last week, Longueuil police have arrested three men in connection with threats allegedly issued against the city's mayor. According to police, none of the men live in the Longueuil area.Parent hopes to have the deer moved within weeks, pending instructions from the ministry on where and how to undertake the relocation.Earlier this month, Anaïs Gasse, a biologist with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry claimed many of the deer would die within days if relocated, due to how difficult it would be to adapt to new surroundings.
NEW YORK — “The Daily Show” host and comedian Trevor Noah has been tapped to host the 2021 Grammy Awards.The Recording Academy made the announcement hours before the nominees for the upcoming show are revealed. It would mark Noah's first time hosting the Grammys, which will be held Jan. 31.Earlier this year, Noah competed for his first Grammy Award: The 36-year-old Emmy winner was nominated for best comedy album with “Son of Patricia," but lost to Dave Chappelle.“Despite the fact that I am extremely disappointed that the GRAMMYs have refused to have me sing or be nominated for best pop album, I am thrilled to be hosting this auspicious event,” Noah said in a statement. “I think as a one-time GRAMMY nominee, I am the best person to provide a shoulder to all the amazing artists who do not win on the night because I too know the pain of not winning the award! (This is a metaphorical shoulder, I’m not trying to catch Corona). See you at the 63rd GRAMMYs!”Alicia Keys was the most recent Grammys host. Past hosts include James Corden and LL Cool J.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
A public meeting about the Ottawa police budget Monday was overtaken by criticism of the weekend arrest of protesters calling for justice for Black, Indigenous and racialized communities in Ottawa.Almost 100 people signed up to speak to the Ottawa Police Services Board about the 2021 police budget.Nearly all of the registered speakers called for the police budget to be frozen and for the proposed $13.2 million increase for the upcoming year to be reallocated to social services.Several people, some who were at this weekend's protest encampment at Laurier Avenue and Nicholas Street, condemned the early morning arrests of demonstrators — even accusing police Chief Peter Sloly of deception when he described the early morning arrests as having involved ample warning and no injuries.Twelve people were charged with mischief.Ifrah Yusuf, co-chair of the Justice for Abdirahman coalition, said the space created by protesters calling for an end to systemic racism was "destroyed" by police after protesters were told they would not be arrested."They have caused deep harm, trauma and have set the relationship back many years in the space of one night by way of a reckless and violent decision," she said. WATCH | Early-morning police raid timed with safety in mind, chief says:Robin Browne, co-founder of 613-819 Black Hub, said the disruption of the protest after an agreement to meet with city officials was one factor that led the group to reconsider its conditional endorsement of the 2021 budget."That the police went ahead and removed the protesters just hours before the meeting is an act of bad faith," Browne said."Charging 12 protesters with mischief contradicts the [police service's] frequent claim that they want to 'improve community relations' as it seems more like an intimidation tactic."Browne said the group is also concerned with the slow pace of other priorities such as improving the police's mental health response and hiring of racialized officers.Handling of ceremonial objectsThere was particular anger over the treatment of sacred medicines and ceremonial objects belonging to Indigenous participants in the protest.Victoria Marchand, an Anishinaabe from Kitigan Zibi who participated in the protest, said protesters were given just 10 minutes of warning before arrests began."Not only did we just wake up but we had tents, drums, medicines, and what happened to those? There were no warnings. The care the board talks about for our confiscated ceremonial objects is a complete and utter lie," Marchand said.She said the ceremonial objects and medicines had to be recovered from a municipal yard on Hurdman Road, some left under a tarp.Sloly acknowledged Monday that "mistakes were made" in the handling of those objects, though in his opening remarks he said efforts were made to reach Indigenous organizations for advice on the proper handling of ceremonial objects.He said the police need to improve how they handle similar situations.Vote planned TuesdayThe meeting lasted about eight hours, with several tense exchanges.Coun. Diane Deans, the board's chair, cut some public delegations short when she said they were veering away from the budget or included possible criminal allegations that police could not answer during a city meeting.This led to pushback from several speakers who accused Deans of censorship and denying the experience of people who experienced alleged wrongdoing at the hands of police. The meeting concluded with a recess and will reconvene for a vote Tuesday. Some board members, including Deans, have said they will support the proposed budget.
In Pennsylvania, if you’re having friends over to socialize, you’re supposed to wear a mask — and so are your friends. That’s the rule, but Barb Chestnut has no intention of following it.“No one is going to tell me what I can or not do in my own home,” said Chestnut, 60, of Shippensburg. “They do not pay my bills and they are not going to tell me what to do.”As governors and mayors grapple with an out-of-control pandemic, they are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings, which have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus. But while such measures carry the weight of law, they are, in practical terms, unenforceable, and officials are banking on voluntary compliance instead.Good luck with that.While many are undoubtedly heeding public health advice — downsizing Thanksgiving plans, avoiding get-togethers, wearing masks when they’re around people who don't live with them — it's inevitable that a segment of the population will blow off new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway. Experts say that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.“When this started in early March, we weren’t staring at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we didn’t have the disease reservoir that we have. And that, to me, is the biggest concern in the next few weeks,” said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He called the risk of a Thanksgiving spike “extremely high.”“I think you’re seeing a lot of resistance here," Rubin said. "I can’t speculate on what people are going to do, but I can say that to the degree that there isn’t a collective buy-in here, it sort of blunts the impact of the measures themselves.”The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are also up sharply as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.In response, elected officials are imposing restrictions that, with some exceptions, fall short of the broad-based stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns seen in the spring.Utah and Vermont have banned all social gatherings. So have local governments in Philadelphia and Dane County, Wisconsin. In Kentucky, no more than eight people from two households are permitted to get together; in Oregon, the gathering limit is six. California has imposed an overnight curfew. More states are requiring masks, including those with GOP governors who have long resisted them. The nation’s top health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel.There’s some evidence the holiday will be quieter.Tamika Hickson, who co-owns a party rental business in Philadelphia, said Thanksgiving was a bust even before her city moved to prohibit indoor gatherings of any size."Nobody’s calling," Hickson said. "A lot of people lost a lot of loved ones, so they’re not playing with this. And I don’t blame them.”AAA projects Thanksgiving travel will fall by at least 10%, which would be the steepest one-year plunge since the Great Recession in 2008. But that still means tens of millions of people on the road. On social media, people defiantly talk about their Thanksgiving plans, arguing that nothing will stop them from seeing friends and family.More than 1 million people thronged U.S. airports on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration — the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.Dr. Debra Bogen, the health director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh, said that too many have been ignoring public health guidance and that the result has been unchecked spread of the virus.“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials, and wear masks. I’m done asking,” Bogen said at a news conference, her frustration palpable. She announced a stay-at-home advisory that she said would turn into an order if people didn’t comply.Some people are underestimating the risk to themselves and their friends and families, said Baruch Fischhoff, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist who has written about COVID-19 risk analysis and communications. Others doubt what health officials are telling them about the virus. And still others are simply irresponsible.Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust.“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that co-ordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.In York County, Pennsylvania, 51-year-old retail worker Kori Jess tested positive for the virus last week. Long a mask skeptic, her personal experience with COVID-19 has changed her opinion — to a point. She said it’s appropriate to wear a mask when circumstances warrant, but she still doesn’t like the idea of government mandating them.“I’m so torn,” Jess said. “I like that people are fighting for their freedoms, but I understand why people are wearing masks.”In upstate New York, some sheriffs say they have no intention of enforcing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent mandate barring private gatherings of more than 10 people.“There is no need to hide cars and sneak around during your attempt to gather with family. We are not going to exhaust our limited resources obtaining search warrants and counting the turkey eaters in your house,” Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood said in a Facebook post. He encouraged people in the largely rural area to use common sense to keep themselves safe.Kim Collins is among those planning a slimmed-down Thanksgiving. In a typical year, Collins would have as many as 20 people at her home in South Orange, New Jersey. This year, her extended family is staying put. “My husband’s having a hard time with the fact that his mom, who’s on her own, won’t be here,” she said.But Collins wasn’t optimistic that others would be so careful. She said plenty of people are going through “mental gymnastics” to justify their holiday get-togethers. “I think that a lot of people aren’t great at the honour system,” she said. ___Associated Press reporters Deepti Hajela in New York City and Michael Hill in Albany, New York, contributed to this story.Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press
The mix, developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is to be given to people who have the infection and are at high risk. View on euronews
LONDON — The parents of a British teen who was killed in a crash lost a court battle with the U.K. government Tuesday over whether an American woman involved in the collision had diplomatic immunity.The family has been seeking justice for 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who died after his motorbike crashed into a car driven on the wrong side of the road outside a U.S. airbase in central England last August.The car’s driver, Anne Sacoolas, left for the U.S. several weeks after the collision. Officials said she was entitled to diplomatic immunity because her husband worked at the airbase.Sacoolas, 43, was charged in December with causing death by dangerous driving, but the U.S. State Department rejected a request to extradite her to Britain to face trial.Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, launched the court case to argue that Britain’s Foreign Office wrongly decided Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity and unlawfully obstructed the police investigation into their son’s death. Their lawyer said Sacoolas had “no duties at all” at the base.But two judges rejected that Tuesday, ruling that the American had diplomatic immunity “on arrival in the U.K.” under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and that she “enjoyed immunity from U.K. criminal jurisdiction at the time of Harry’s death.”The teen’s mother said she was determined to continue finding justice for her son. A family spokesman said they would appeal the ruling.“I promised my boy I would get him justice and that is just what we are going to do. No one is going to stand in our way," she said after the ruling.She was backed by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who said he stands with the family.“We’re clear that Anne Sacoolas needs to face justice in the U.K, and we will support the family with their legal claim in the U.S.,” Raab said.Sylvia Hui, The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — On the heels of his record-breaking but unsuccessful bid to oust U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina's Jaime Harrison on Tuesday launched a political action committee, utilizing his newly minted status as a fundraising powerhouse to try to provide a sustained boost to other Democrats that he hopes can help flip more areas from red to blue.Dirt Road PAC will focus on long term investments in state-level Democratic candidates and parties like intensive voter registration efforts in areas that have been seen by Democrats as harder to win, Harrison told The Associated Press ahead of the official launch.“The days of just swooping in every few years and putting up a candidate, having no grassroots infrastructure and thinking that we’re going to win - that’s just not working,” Harrison told the AP on Monday. “I’m going to focus on investing and doing it in a much deeper manner, and going into areas where people have just been forgotten, or been given up on.”First up, Harrison said, is fundraising for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Georgia Democrats running in the pair of U.S. Senate runoffs that could shift the balance of the chamber, and for whom he has already directly raised nearly half a million dollars. After that, Harrison said he will focus on Virginia's 2021 elections, before turning to the 2022 midterms.“Rome wasn’t built overnight,” Harrison told AP. “You’ve got to have long term and sustainable investment for it to pay dividends.”The committee derives its name from a viral campaign video in which Harrison described an encounter with a South Carolina voter living on a dirt road who told the candidate that he'd be staying out of politics entirely “until either a Democrat or a Republican paves my road," something Harrison said was symbolic of “the hardship that so many of us are suffering with across this state.”Harrison, 44, raised a staggering $130 million in his campaign against Graham, becoming the first U.S. Senate hopeful in the country to cross the $100 million threshold. Throughout the race, Harrison repeatedly broke records in a year where several Senate races across the country reached into the hundreds of millions. In that effort, Harrison developed a national profile, amassing a stout list of cellphone numbers and email addresses he repeatedly tapped to compile small-dollar donations.The one thing Harrison can’t do at the moment is contribute much of his own campaign money to his committee, transfers that would be allowed if he had spare cash on hand. Spending tens of millions on advertising, infrastructure and grassroots, there was little leftover in his coffers, and much of what remained has been pledged to fund healthcare for campaign staff through the end of this year.Over the course of his campaign, Harrison also directed $15 million to the infrastructure of the South Carolina Democratic Party.Despite his loss, theories abound over Harrison's next steps, including a potential run for Democratic National Committee chairman, a post through which he would officially helm the party's efforts through the 2022 midterm elections, as well as the 2024 presidential cycle.Harrison — an associate DNC chairman and former lobbyist who also once led South Carolina’s Democratic Party — sought the top position before, ultimately backing out to support current chairman Tom Perez. Party leaders technically meet to select the next chairman, although that process could be expedited if President-elect Joe Biden weighs in with his pick.Saying his immediate concern is boosting other Democrats through his political action committee, Harrison also made the argument that his resumé uniquely qualifies him to lead the national party officially, noting state and national-level party experience, work on Capitol Hill and as a candidate, as well as existing relationships with both Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.“I don’t think there are very many folks that you could find who have probably done all of those things and can step up into the DNC wearing those many hats, and understand the route that we need to take to rebuild our party,” Harrison told AP. “If the president-elect asked me, I would be happy to serve, to build back, better.”___Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.___Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
Penetanguishene council could approve an interim 2021 property tax levy this week. Staff is bringing forward the request at Wednesday's meeting and recommending that council approve a temporary tax levy, which can be paid in two installments, one at the end of February and the other at the end of April. The report does not specify the levy amount but it does state that the sum cannot exceed 50% of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property in the previous year. The move, says the report, will help with cash management and provide tax revenues in February and April, whereas the final tax levy will provide revenues in July and September. Also on the committee of the whole agenda is a staff report on the extension of the sidewalk on the west side of Peel Street, between Main Street and Simcoe Street, to enable a sidewalk snowplow to remove the snow from that area. The costs associated with the extension of the sidewalk would be approximately $15,000. The extension would also mean existing parking signs within this area will be removed and relocated with pavement markings will be added to define the new sidewalk and parking area. There is sufficient width within this one-way section of Peel Street to accommodate the expansion. Council will also be looking at amendments to the bylaw that governs its contract with the Penetanguishene Curling Club, which has requested some changes to the agreement. The current terms require that the club to provide the town with audited financial statements on an annual basis. As a cost savings measure, the club has requested that the town reconsider that requirement and change it to a review engagement. Staff are supporting the amendment and want to include wording that reflects expanded town use of the facility during the summer. Currently the clause details town use of the facility with reference to day-camp operations. The language will be changed to reflect use of the facility for town programming in general, as opposed to being specific to day-camp use. The committee of the whole meeting begins immediately after the regular council meeting at 7 p.m. and can be viewed online via the town's YouTube channel.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Thousands of Albertans caught in a COVID-19 contact tracing backlog will no longer have their cases investigated.The province's contact tracing system has grown increasingly overwhelmed as Alberta's case counts spike.Starting Tuesday, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is temporarily giving up on investigating contacts for people who received their positive test result more than 10 days ago.There are currently 11,500 people on the waitlist and about 3,000 of them will not be investigated."This is not good, this is not optimal, but this is, I think, choosing the lesser of two evils," said University of Calgary infectious disease expert Dr. Craig Jenne.He says focusing on the most recent cases is the best thing to do given the circumstances."We will have a significant absence of data from those cases, but instead of having that problem continue to move forward into the future I think this is a matter of accepting some loss of data, some loss of understanding of transmission," he said.The temporary measure comes less than three weeks after AHS was forced to limit contact tracing to Albertans connected to high priority settings such as hospitals or schools.Currently, roughly 85 per cent of active cases in the province have no identified source.With such a large gap in data, Jenne says broader restrictions will likely be necessary to rein in surging numbers since health officials don't really know where transmission is occurring.Commenting Tuesday on the situation in Alberta, Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto, said the inability to complete contact tracing is like fighting blind."When you don't have the data, you have no clue what direction you are headed and how to pivot or point, and where to point your public health measures," he said."It's very, very challenging. You need good surveillance data, good contact tracing, good diagnostic tests to really help inform and steer the public health response."