Rocky the great Pyrenees puppy takes a nap in the strangest possible way. He looks so funny leaning over that table. Sweet dreams, little buddy!
Rocky the great Pyrenees puppy takes a nap in the strangest possible way. He looks so funny leaning over that table. Sweet dreams, little buddy!
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — The Nunavut government says its finances aren't as bad as it originally predicted despite spending made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nunavut tabled a $2.4-billion budget Tuesday that focuses on adding health-care services in the territory. The figure includes $4.8 million for the creation of a Pandemic Response Secretariat. The secretariat, which adds 30 new positions to Nunavut's public sector, is to manage services addressing the COVID-19 crisis. Last year, Finance Minister George Hickes projected Nunavut's deficit would be the largest yet — higher than $30 million. But the 2020-2021 deficit sits at $21 million, in part because federal funding was provided to help deal with the pandemic. Hickes predicts next year's deficit to be even lower at $14 million. "Had we not received this federal support, I would be reporting a significantly different fiscal situation today," Hickes said. The federal money includes $130 million for COVID-19-relief and $58 million to cover medical travel costs for Nunavut residents. Last year, Nunavut spent $64.2 million on isolation hubs for Nunavummiut returning to the territory. Quarantining at the hubs is mandatory and has been in place since the pandemic hit last March. Another $30 million was spent last year to put up construction workers in the isolation hubs before they flew up to Nunavut for projects. Nunavut also spent $55 million last year to support Canadian North and Calm Air, the territory's airlines, from April to September. The 2021-2022 budget doesn't dedicate new dollars specifically to COVID-19 relief. Hickes said that's because most of what's needed to support Nunavummiut during the pandemic has already been secured through federal funding. "A lot of the operational network ... on the COVID response has been created," he said. Hickes also said the territory can't anticipate what future costs related to the pandemic will be. "We don't know exactly what those costs are. We don't have a timeline. We don't have a finish line," he said. "Some of those moneys have been tapped from the third-party funding, and that's why we're leaving a cushion in case there are any shortfalls." That cushion is a $75-million contingency fund, up from $50 million in last year's budget. The 2021-22 fiscal plan also commits funding for a new bachelor of social work program at Nunavut Arctic College and $1.2 million to pay for a new colorectal cancer screening program in Iqaluit. "One of the things COVID has enhanced ... (is) that we need to bring more services closer to home and more in-territory care," Hickes said. Hickes said the government's revenues for the next fiscal year are predicted to be almost $2.4 billion. Members of the legislature are to spend the next few weeks reviewing and voting on whether to approve the budget. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
The review of Grimsby's council structure continues. Grimsby council recently narrowed down the options on the table, voting in favour of considering three to eight wards, seven to nine councillors and keeping an election by ward voting system. Grimsby council heard this report at the committee of the whole meeting on Feb 16. Among other conclusions, a report from StrategyCorp suggested that current ward boundary structures in Grimsby no longer accurately represent the population, given the already unequal spread of residents across the town. The report further suggested that this problem is likely to worsen in the future as the population is expected to grow, specifically in Ward 4. Another question that arose was the possibility of minimizing or increasing the number of councillors and number of wards. The conclusion, per the report, said “the current structure is not obviously broken in a way that would require a change. At the same time, a reduction in the size of council to seven, or even five, is preferred by many as a means of improving decision-making.” John Matheson of StrategyCorp, who was presenting the report to council, said a decision didn’t need to be made right away, and various scenarios would be explored and shared in a later report, likely presented in June. As for election systems, the report suggested that the town’s current election by ward system should suffice for the time being, as opposed to an at large election system. Per the report, this is primarily because of “risk that the loss of wards could lead to the loss of local representation,” and there is “no obvious problem” with the current system. Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
Robert Riley Saunders, a social worker facing 13 criminal charges including fraud, theft and forgery, has chosen to be tried by a Supreme Court justice, without a jury. Saunders was employed by B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development as a social worker in Kelowna between 1996 and 2018. He appeared in Kelowna Law Court on Feb. 22 via video conference, and his next court appearance is set for March 8, 2021. In a separate action last October, the province settled a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit, which alleged that “Saunders defrauded many children in the care of the Ministry of their food, clothing and shelter allowances, leaving many of them destitute and homeless.” “The Province admits that Saunders harmed children in the Director’s care for whom he had responsibility in his capacity as a social worker and that the Province is vicariously liable for the harm caused by Saunders,” reads the settlement agreement. “This harm includes neglect, misappropriation of funds and failure to plan for the children’s welfare and, with respect to Indigenous children, failure to take steps to preserve their cultural identities.” In an affidavit submitted during the class action hearing, it says that MCFD estimated the number of class members at 102, and the majority were Indigenous youth. Court documents show that Saunders claimed to have a social work degree from the University of Manitoba on his resume when he didn’t in fact have one. The next step in the current criminal proceeding will be a pre-trial conference, says Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service, via an email to IndigiNews. He says they expect to set the date for the conference at the next court appearance on March 8. “The trial date will not be set until the pre-trial issues are dealt with,” he says. A court-ordered publication ban prohibits anyone from publishing information that could identify the alleged victims in this case. Saunders was released on bail on Dec. 18. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public and media who want to attend virtual proceedings remotely can do so via Microsoft (MS) teams. Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
BUCHAREST, Romania — Olivier Giroud’s bicycle-kick goal awarded after video review gave Chelsea a 1-0 win against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. It took nearly three minutes for Giroud and his teammates to be able to celebrate the important 68th-minute away goal that was initially disallowed for offside. Giroud was clearly in front of the defenders when he pulled off his acrobatic shot, but VAR determined that the ball came from Atlético defender Mario Hermoso, thus annulling the offside. Atlético was the home team but the match was played in Bucharest, Romania, because of travel restrictions preventing visitors from Britain entering Spain. The second leg will be on March 17 in London. In the other round-of-16 match on Tuesday, Bayern Munich defeated Lazio 4-1 in Italy. It was the second consecutive loss for Atlético after a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. It was also the eighth straight game in which the Spanish club has conceded a goal, extending its worst run without a clean sheet since coach Diego Simeone arrived in late 2011. Chelsea is yet to lose in its eight matches since coach Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at the helm. It had been a lacklustre match until Giroud’s goal, with neither team managing to create many significant scoring opportunities and with the goalkeepers not having to work too hard. Chelsea controlled possession and looked a bit more dangerous, but both sides appeared to be satisfied with the scoreless draw and didn’t take too many risks. Hermoso was trying to clear the ball from the area and ended kicking it backward in a ball dispute with Mason Mount. Giroud reached up high with his left foot send the ball toward the corner of Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Mount and Jorginho were shown yellow cards and will miss the second leg because of accumulation of cards. Simeone had to improvise with midfielder Marcos Llorente as a right back against Chelsea because of several absences on defence, including Kieran Trippier following an English betting investigation. The teams had played in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2017-18 season, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in Spain before a 1-1 draw in London. Atlético eliminated Chelsea in the semifinals in 2014. It was in Bucharest that Simeone won his first title with Atlético, the 2012 Europa League. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
La crise de logements dans les communautés, dont celle de Uashat mak Maliotenam met en lumière les besoins criants liés à la surpopulation au sein d’une même maison, mais également de l’itinérance. De bonnes nouvelles viennent enfin d’être annoncées. Un projet visant l’aboutissement de plus de 200 logements abordables, sur une période de 5 ans, a été confirmé grâce, à l’aide de Services Autochtones Canada. L’étape, actuellement embryonnaire, permettra d’entreprendre des démarches afin de construire des maisons supplémentaires dans les communautés. Les constructions sont évaluées aux environs de 45 M$, sur 5 ans. Il s’agit, en moyenne, de 40 maisons par année. «La surpopulation dans les maisons et la difficulté d’accès à des logements sociaux qui conviennent aux besoins des familles sont au cœur des préoccupations de plusieurs communautés des Premières Nations partout à travers le Canada. La construction de nouvelles unités de logements et de maisons adaptées chez nous permettrait de combler une partie de nos besoins.», mentionne le Chef Mike Mckenzie. Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Sun Peaks may not be able to celebrate Pride Week like in years past, but Tourism Sun Peaks is still hoping to make this week special for the community’s LGBTQ+ guests and residents. Pride Week starts Wednesday, Feb. 24 and carries on until Wednesday, March 3. And while the Peak Pride Festival is unable to come up to the resort and organize events as it has in years past, Tourism Sun Peaks is asking local businesses to create welcome window displays if it is feasible, which may be highlighted on social media channels throughout the week. The organization has also teamed up with Sun Peaks Resort and GK Sound to light up the Clocktower in pride colours for the week. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
MIAMI — A federal judge ordered a former Florida Republican congressman on Tuesday to pay $456,000 for secretly funneling thousands of dollars to a little-known Democratic candidate in 2012 to try to weaken a political rival. U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke sided with the Federal Election Commission in its civil case against ex-Rep. David Rivera. The FEC had claimed that Rivera secretly and illegally contributed nearly $76,000 to Justin Sternad in an attempt to weaken the rival Democratic campaign of Joe Garcia, who eventually won the Miami-area seat. Sternad and Rivera associate Ana Alliegro previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the scheme. Rivera has never been charged with a crime and has long denied wrongdoing. Since losing in 2012, Rivera has made other unsuccessful runs for Congress. He was elected last year to the Miami GOP’s executive committee. Several months earlier, Florida Democrats had called for a congressional investigation into Rivera’s business dealings with Venezuela’s state-owned oil monopoly, PDVSA — after a lawsuit revealed that his consulting firm had been awarded a $50 million consulting contract in 2017. The Associated Press
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The boyfriend of a Wyoming woman whose 2-year-old son was found dead in an apartment complex dumpster has been arrested, police said Tuesday. Wyatt Lamb, 27, was taken into custody after the disappearance of Athian Rivera triggered a search Friday. The toddler's body was found a few hours into the effort involving police, firefighters and residents. Lamb was listed as the boyfriend of Rivera's mother, Kassy Orona, 25, on Orona's Facebook page on Monday but the reference had been deleted Tuesday. Police arrested Lamb at their apartment Friday evening on suspicion of failing to appear in court and violating parole in a different case, Cheyenne police said in a statement Tuesday. Investigators have recommended murder and aggravated child abuse charges against him, the statement said. Lamb remained jailed Tuesday and unavailable for comment. Ericka Smith, his attorney in a previous case, didn't immediately return a phone message Tuesday seeking comment. Police weren't prepared to disclose additional details about what happened, including how the boy died and got in the dumpster, police department spokeswoman Alexandra Farkas said. Orona identified herself as the boy's mother on Facebook. "Every day I wake up and I still just can't accept this. I can't believe I’m never gonna see your beautiful smile ... your little run as I chase you and you chase me back," Orona wrote in a post Tuesday. Orona's posts didn't include what might have happened to the boy. She didn't return a Facebook message Tuesday seeking comment. The Associated Press
P.E.I.'s Public School Branch (PSB) needs to keep the wheels on its buses going round and round – especially considering it's running low on bus drivers. To help recruit more, it started its own driver training program last year, which was partly put in place as a result of COVID-19. Many bus drivers would speak to how rewarding it is ensuring P.E.I. students arrive at school safely, transportation supervisor Mike Franklin said. "They treat the kids like they were their own." Dave Gillis, the PSB's transportation director, said the program has already seen its first few graduates. During a virtual board of directors meeting on Feb. 10. he noted P.E.I. has about 250 drivers, many of whom are reaching retirement age. Up until now, the PSB had relied on JVI Driver Training to train drivers and provide the licence necessary to operate a bus, but the pandemic forced JVI's courses to temporarily shut down. As a result, the PSB had a six- to eight-month period without any new drivers coming in. "Our pipeline was completely dry," Gillis said. "(And) we foresee a strong retirement of drivers in the future." Franklin was brought in to help develop and run the program – he has taught similar courses before and can grant the licence. He noted that they're still working with JVI, but that JVI has other groups it's committed to helping, such as the French Language School Board or the P.E.I. Regiment. "We're just trying to help them out," he said. By training bus drivers itself, the PSB can ensure the gaps being left by retiring drivers are filled and that there are enough substitute drivers on hand if regular drivers need time off. "We're willing to put the money up to train them," Franklin said, noting the PSB will waive the program's cost of about $3,000 as long as applicants agree to work for at least 10 months after they are trained. That’s because a bus driver’s licence also allows drivers to operate other vehicles, such as dump trucks, meaning many drivers could end up looking to other industries for work. The course has two elements – in-class that focuses on the technical elements of driving a bus and in-the-field that focuses on the practical elements of actually driving it. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
OTTAWA — Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos is stepping aside due to illness.Duclos says in a statement that he felt persistent chest pain over the past several days.He went to hospital on Sunday and was told he had a pulmonary embolism.He says he is home again and feeling well, but his doctor recommended he rest for a few days.Joyce Murray, the minister of digital government, will assume his duties for now.Duclos has been the Liberal MP for a Quebec City riding since 2015, and was the minister for social development in the Trudeau government's first mandate.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Golf superstar Tiger Woods needed surgery after a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday that left him with multiple leg injuries. Officials say he was conscious when pulled from the wrecked SUV and the injuries are not life threatening.
Perhaps it will come as a surprise to few, but Nordic skiing is taking off in B.C. For many, it’s the perfect pandemic activity—(relatively) affordable, easily accessible for those living in the beautiful Thompson Okanagan region, and good for your overall health and well-being. And, oh yeah—it’s sort of COVID-proof. “A lot of people have gravitated to the sport because of [COVID-19],” said Ivor McMahen, president of the Sun Peaks Nordic Club. “COVID restrictions have shut down a lot of other sports, but because of the nature of cross country skiing, being outside and not requiring close proximity to other people, we’re able to continue almost normally.” Across B.C., the popularity of the sport has grown by around 50 per cent, according to McMahen and a recent interview Sun Peaks Independent News had with a representative from Tourism Kamloops. McMahen said he has definitely noticed the uptick in usage of Sun Peaks’ acclaimed trail system, and that membership levels in the club, which have increased to 111 this year from 92 the year previous, don’t fully capture the picture. “I think the actual popularity and interest in the sport is up much more than that,” he said. Unlike other local clubs—such as the Overlander Nordic Club and the Stake Lake trail system—the Sun Peaks Nordic Club does not manage the local trail system, which is operated by Sun Peaks Resort LLP. Adding to the usage of local Sun Peaks trails is the fact that anyone with a downhill pass can now utilize them. “Overall, I think it’s a really great thing that the resort is doing that,” said McMahen of the deal, which it has been offered for the past couple years. “It really encourages people to get out without having to buy an extra pass, but it makes it harder to tell how many people are getting out, and doing Nordic as opposed to alpine.” The club plays a pivotal role in supporting Sun Peaks’ cross country skiing community and fostering the next generation of skiers through events and programs. While it’s had to shut down its popular group skis sessions, the club has had success promoting its popular junior development program. It provides instruction for kids and youth from four to 16-years old. The program is informally known as the “Jackrabbits” program. It has a total of 32 kids involved this year. And for the first time in club history, it’s had to put a cap on its numbers. “It was named after Jackrabbit Johannsen, who was a legendary fellow in eastern Canada who skied everyday until he was over 100 years old.” McMahen said the idea of the program is to get kids turned onto the sport in an organic way and develop all-around athletes. “The main philosophy, especially in the really young ages at this, is not to aim to produce elite skiers,” he said. “It’s aim is to produce healthy, well balanced, physically capable kids. The word that they refer to as physical literacy, so it’s balance, agility, the ability to jump, run and just self-propel yourself.” McMahen added the club hopes to get a masters program up and running next year, where more experienced (and mature) skiers can get some tips on how to improve their performance. “There’s a few tricks to the sport, it’s not as simple as it looks,” he said with a laugh. The Thompson Okanagan provides a number of options for people to enjoy cross country skiing if you’re looking to try something new. – The Stake Lake Trails, located south of Kamloops and operated by the Overlander Ski Club, boasts a 60-km trail system. – Harper Mountain offers a three kilometre groomed trail system that meanders through a forested area, and is great for both traditional cross country skiing and skate skiing. -The Telemark Nordic Club, located in West Kelowna, offers 60 kilometres of trails. – The Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club offers 75-km of trails. – Sovereign Lake, located in SilverStar Resort, is also open. It offers 105 kilometres of daily groomed trails and is the largest network of cross-country ski trails in Canada. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Sexual health for pre-teens guru Saleema Noon is evolving her school-based program for online COVID-19 life. Noon and her team of sexual health educators have worked with a group of pre-teen “influencers” to develop a so-called master class for kids to set them up for a happy, healthy life. The pre-teens identified what topics to address and how to address them, making sure the messaging is relevant for young people. All Noon’s programs are prevention-based, aiming to support kids with tools before a crisis and angst hits. And there are a lot of tools pre-teens need to successfully get through life. “The stakes are just so much higher than when we were kids,” Noon told Black Press. “The pressure is just so huge, even in Grade 5. When my stepdaughters were younger – they’re in their 20s now – we just told them they couldn’t have a cell phone until high school. And that was okay then, but now Grade 5 is like the new Grade 7.” The classic fear of missing out (or FOMO), is intensified with cell phones. Noon has heard from some parents that kids want to sleep with their phones because they’re afraid they’ll miss out on a group text, or someone will say something mean about them and they won’t be able to defend themselves right away. The idea with the master class is to help parents teach good habits early so when kids are ready for social media they can use it in a way that’s fun and healthy. The workshop, called the Growing Up Game Plan, covers six areas: gender and gender stereotypes, how to honour and express emotions, healthy relationships, being assertive, puberty and body image, and internet safety. When offered in schools, typically parent advisory committees fund the workshops. Online they are fee-based, but in future iterations Noon plans to use her foundation to sponsor families financially. The current cohort is open for registration until Feb. 25; a second cohort will launch in the summer. Registration for the online workshop is here: https://saleemanoon.com/growing-up-game-plan/ Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
CALGARY — Police in Calgary say a former junior high school teacher charged with sexually assaulting six students between 15 and 20 years ago has died and his death is not believed to be criminal. Michael Andreassen Gregory, who was 57 and lived in De Winton, Alta., was facing six counts of sexual assault and 11 counts of sexual exploitation. Police had said a woman came forward last September alleging that, nearly two decades earlier, a teacher undressed her and other female students during a canoe trip their school did not approve. Police investigated and found five other women who reported sexual involvement with the same teacher at the Calgary junior high school between 1999 and 2005. Police alleged Gregory, who taught there between 1986 and 2006, used his position of trust to groom the students and get them into situations in which sexual activities could occur. Even though Gregory has died, police are still asking anyone with information in the case to come forward. They say when a suspect dies before an investigation is complete, officers still examine evidence to try to learn what happened. That allows them to give closure and support to victims, ensure there's no one else who can be charged and learn how to prevent similar crimes in the future. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia is expected to start informing people over age 80 about their vaccinations for COVID-19 starting next week as the province prepares to open mass clinics while doing more in-depth testing for variants. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is in a phase of "vaccine hope and pandemic reality" but an age-based immunization plan will remain in place despite some calls to prioritize essential workers. Henry says the province is expanding its pool of immunizers to include dentists, midwives and paramedics before 172 sites open up to eventually offer a vaccine to everyone age 18 and up. However, she says it's concerning that cases of variants like the one first identified in the United Kingdom are increasing after an unknown number were recently identified at seven schools in the Fraser Health region. B.C. has recorded 559 new cases and one more death, for a total of 1,336 fatalities since the start of the pandemic. The teachers' union has called on the province to allow school districts to come up with their own guidelines on mandatory masks for elementary schools but Henry says her current directive was made with the participation of parents' groups, teachers and school superintendents. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A judge accused of lying to a disciplinary committee said on Tuesday that he did indeed give up all involvement with a Black federation he helped found out of fear he would be suspended from the bench.Testifying at a hearing into his alleged misconduct, Ontario court Judge Donald McLeod said he resigned from his roles on the Federation of Black Canadians in mid-2018.At the time, the disciplinary committee was weighing in on a complaint about McLeod's efforts as a member of the federation's steering committee and its lobbying of the federal government. The complaint turned on whether he was compromising his position as a judge by being a part of an activist group.McLeod, who has won widespread accolades for his work on Black issues, said he was surprised to learn he was under threat of judicial sanction and worried what would happen if that became public."It left me in an unenviable position," McLeod said. "Now they were going to suspend me. I’m the only Black judge on the Ontario court of justice. It would cause harm to my reputation.”McLeod had founded the federation in 2016. It describes itself as a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization to advance the social, economic, political and cultural interests of Canadians of African descent. The activist organization lobbied government on issues they considered key, including on behalf of Somali child refugee, Abdoulkader Abdi.Faced with suspension pending a ruling on the complaint against him, McLeod said he felt he had no choice other than to inform the Ontario Judicial Council in 2018 that he was no longer active with the federation.“I had to just go,” he said. “Then I was gone and all communication (with the federation) would have ceased.”A panel of the Ontario Judicial Council is looking at whether McLeod committed perjury when he told the first panel he was no longer active with the group."Justice McLeod resumed a leadership role in the FBC," according to the allegation against him.For example, in December 2018, evidence before the hearing was that McLeod was involved in an email chain with members of the federation. He explained they had reached out to him about proposed changes the organization wanted to make.McLeod said he offered information that only he had as a former member of the steering committee."I’m probably the only one who has the experience of the organization from the very beginning," McLeod said. “They would need my historical knowledge in order to see if this could actually be done."After the initial complaint was dismissed in Dec. 20, 2018, McLeod said he resumed limited, non-lobbying activities with the federation. He said the ruling had clarified what judges could and could not do, and he acted within those limits.“What the ruling does is it now gives us the four corners that we can work within,” he said.He said he did chair meetings but did not vote, except once accidentally on a routine motion, and absolutely refrained from any advocacy and had no role in any fundraising.. A newspaper broke the story of his new troubles and suspension with pay in September 2019 on a day he was achieving a prestigious award from United Nations in New York.“This has been a very tough run.” he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Melaine Simba will never forget the months she spent inside her home on Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation, south of Yellowknife, with her windows tightly shut to prevent wildfire smoke from seeping in. It was the summer of 2014 and she was following public health orders to stay inside during the Northwest Territories’ worst wildfire season on record. “There were fires all around us,” Simba told The Narwhal. “I couldn’t go outside, and I couldn’t take my son outside.” “It was just so hard to breathe in that smoke with all the falling ash.” According to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open, the wildfires caused extremely poor air quality during the more than two months of unrelenting smoke exposure. This led to a sharp increase in respiratory illnesses, with vulnerable populations, such as children and Indigenous people, disproportionately affected. The study also found that public health advisories asking people to stay inside during the wildfires were “inadequately protective,” possibly because people grew tired of the long period of isolation. With climate change contributing to longer and more intense wildfire seasons, the study authors say there’s an urgent need to be far more prepared in the future. “A really big take home of this study is that climate change is bad, and it is going to get worse,” Courtney Howard, the lead author of the study and an emergency physician in Yellowknife, told The Narwhal, adding that smoke exposure levels during the wildfires were believed to be some of the worst ever studied globally. “We are going to need new, proactive approaches as we go into a warmer, smokier state on this planet.” Warmer temperatures caused by climate change can spur drier conditions, increasing the risk of wildfires. In 2014, moderate to severe drought conditions and lightning strikes were the catalyst for 385 fires that impacted 3.4 million hectares of forest in the Northwest Territories. According to the federal government, temperatures across the North are warming more than twice as fast as the global rate. In Yellowknife, between 1943 and 2011, the annual average temperature in the city increased by 2.5 C. The average level of particulate matter (PM 2.5) in the air was five times higher than normal during the 2014 wildfires, compared with the two previous years and 2015. PM 2.5 — inhalable particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter — is associated with a range of respiratory conditions. The study found this increase in particulate matter was associated with an increase in visits to the hospital for asthma, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Asthma-related emergency room visits doubled, with the highest rates found in women, people older than 40 and Dene. Visits for pneumonia increased by 57 per cent, with men, children and Inuit particularly affected. And visits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increased by 11 per cent, with men, the Inuit and Dene populations and people over 60 showing the greatest risk. While the results suggest that Indigenous people were more affected, Howard said it’s difficult to say for sure because they may have been more likely to go to the ER due to lack of access to medical clinics. The demand for medicine that helps alleviate the symptoms of asthma surged, too. The dispensation of salbutamol, the agent found in puffers, increased by 48 per cent. “In fact, one of the pharmacies ran out over the course of the summer,” Howard said. Supply chain problems “demonstrated a lack of resilience,” she added. The study also sheds light on systemic issues that contribute to worse health outcomes in vulnerable populations, including Indigenous people. “Climate-related health effects impact all populations but are likely to disproportionately affect communities living at the frontlines of rapid climate change, as well as those experiencing systemic racism, socioeconomic and health disparities, and/or the enduring effects of colonization,” the study states. Protracted periods of isolation, a lack of exercise, fear and stress during the wildfires also had negative impacts on people’s mental health and way of life, according to a 2018 report that Howard was also involved with. “Livelihood and land-based activities were disrupted for some interviewees, which had negative consequences for mental, emotional and physical well-being,” the report states. During the summer, Indigenous people across the territory fish, hunt and visit old villages and the gravesites of relatives, Jason Snaggs, the chief executive officer of Yellowknives Dene First Nation, told The Narwhal. The wildfires prevented people from taking part in these cultural activities, he added. “This leads to depression, and you have sort of a compounding effect, in terms of colonialism, the effects of residential schools, intergenerational trauma,” Snaggs said. “Some people were visibly traumatized by this event.” Sheltering in place can lead to increased rates of family violence, including violence against Indigenous women, Snaggs added. During the 2016 wildfires that tore through Fort McMurray, Alta., calls to a local family crisis centre increased by upward of 300 per cent, according to Michele Taylor, executive director of Waypoints, an emergency shelter for women and children. Howard said the 2014 wildfires were a seminal event in people’s understanding of climate change in the region. “At the time, ecological grief and eco-anxiety hadn’t really shown up in the evidence base,” she said. “Looking back at our analysis, I think we can easily apply those terms to what we found and say it was a trigger for ecological grief and anxiety for a lot of people.” Howard said communities — particularly Indigenous communities — need to be better equipped to withstand wildfires. Some homes in Indigenous communities are overcrowded and aren’t built to the same standards as those elsewhere in the territory. Howard emphasized the need to address this problem first and foremost. The BMJ study recommends governments install ventilation systems in old and new homes ahead of wildfire season. Doing so would ensure residents have access to clean air without having to leave the house. “Our infrastructure decisions need to be based on the temperature and precipitation patterns that we’re anticipating for the coming century as opposed to the ones we had in the last one,” Howard said. The study also recommends primary health-care practitioners identify people who may grapple with respiratory illnesses and ensure that air filters and puffers are readily available prior to wildfire season. “That will allow people to manage their symptoms at home and never get to the point where they’re stuck in the emergency department,” Howard said. “The sooner particularly vulnerable people have access [to air filters and puffers], the better.” In 2014, the City of Yellowknife waived user fees for a multi-purpose recreation facility so residents could go there to breathe clean, filtered air and exercise, Howard said. But not everyone in Yellowknife is afforded the same level of access. N’Dilo, which is part of Yellowknives Dene First Nation and is located in Yellowknife proper, only has one space people can gather in during a wildfire — a 45-year-old gym that isn’t equipped with a filtration system to keep air clean. The study suggests that public health practitioners use satellite-based smoke forecasting to determine whether clean air shelters are needed in advance of wildfire season and, if necessary, make more available. The 2018 report — which documented the experiences of 30 community members from Yellowknife, Dettah, N’Dilo and Kakisa who lived through the wildfires — found there was a consensus among participants about the need for improved communication and coordination at the community and territorial levels as wildfires intensify. Howard said residents and health-care providers need to proactively prepare for wildfire season every year. “We need to be viewing wildfire season the same way we view cold and flu season.” Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to work toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050. "We're launching a high-level, climate-ambition ministerial and to align our policies and our goals to achieve net zero emissions by 2050," Biden said in a speech following a bilateral meeting with the Canadian leader. U.S. Special Climate Change Envoy John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, will host the ministerial.