Rachel Schoutsen discovers that there's a lot going on in freshly fallen powder in this Health & Weather segment.
Rachel Schoutsen discovers that there's a lot going on in freshly fallen powder in this Health & Weather segment.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
TORONTO — The world's most beloved Beagle is carving out a new kennel in Canada. After debuting "Snoopy in Space" on Apple TV Plus in late 2019, Halifax-headquartered media company WildBrain and its mostly all-Canadian team are now digging deeper into the late Charles M. Schulz's comic strips with the newly launched "The Snoopy Show" and upcoming Peanuts gang specials for the streaming service. Toronto-based showrunner Mark Evestaff says the projects are the first major Peanuts content to come out since "The Peanuts Movie" in 2015, and seemingly the first to be made in Canada. The creators have worked closely with the Schulz family and his Creative Associates company in the U.S. to respect his classic works as the franchise establishes roots on this side of the border. That's why viewers won't see Snoopy and the gang using cellphones, for instance, or look much different than the simple line drawing of the comics. "It was all inspired by going back to the strip and pulling out some stories and then talking about them," he said in an interview. "And then of course, there's artistic licence. "As storytellers ourselves and fans, we want to remain loyal to the world that Mr. Schulz created. Of course we had to fill in some blanks, but it really was, 'How would Mr. Schulz have approached this?' And trying to be faithful to that world and to the characters." WildBrain, formerly DHX Media, became the majority owner of the Peanuts brand in 2017 and took a team to the Creatives Associates headquarters in Santa Rosa, Calif., to discuss ideas and Schulz's wishes for the future of the franchise. "Charles Schulz's office is still there and it's still set up," Evestaff said. "You can still see the worn-out places where he would have drawn these characters. Some of his pen nibs are there and some of the ink is there, and they preserved it. There's a wonderful museum there that's separate, and it was really humbling but very inspirational in terms of making the show." As per Schulz's wishes, the team agreed to stick to tradition and not include modern technology in the Peanuts world of the animated family series. "Snoopy still types on his old typewriter, they still use the old-school wired phones," Evestaff said, noting viewers may also see an old TV here and there. "It also keeps the kids outside all the time, so we didn't even really find any instances where we needed to have some of the other technology." Both "The Snoopy Show," which launched last month, and "Snoopy in Space," which has been renewed for a second season, were developed and produced by WildBrain’s animation studio in Vancouver. The voice artists are based in Toronto and have been recording there during the pandemic. Terry McGurrin voices Snoopy and Rob Tinkler performs his yellow feathered pal Woodstock. To make the characters' sounds, which range from Snoopy's signature "bleah" to Woodstock's high-pitched chirps, McGurrin and Tinkler use "a bit of audio magic" and a lot of physicality that's "pretty weird" to witness in person, Evestaff said with a laugh. "We bring them into the booth and they do ridiculous things with their voices, and then we treat them and play that back," he said. "If you were to walk in, you would certainly be surprised at what you're hearing. They embody these characters, and you see it." Canadian composer Jeff Morrow creates the show's score, staying true to its jazz origins and letting the musicians improvise a bit, which was also done on the original Peanuts specials. "It is something that was important to us, was important to Jeff, and has made a huge difference in the show in terms of just having that free-flow feel in the show that is characteristically Peanuts," said Evestaff. Some of the Canadian creators are based in Los Angeles but jumped at the chance to work the series because it's such a prestigious brand, Evestaff said. In "The Snoopy Show," viewers see the Peanuts world from the perspective of the dynamic dog's overactive imagination and flights of fancy — from his persona as a flying ace, to that of a lawyer and Joe Cool. As per the original Peanuts animation, when Snoopy is pretending to be a flying ace on top of his dog house, viewers never see the bottom of it, so it doesn't ruin the fantasy. Also like the original, the four weather seasons are an important part of the storytelling and design, which made Canada a perfect destination for the creation of such scenes. "Being Canadian, there are lots of nods to hockey and figure skating and winter sports and snow and winter activities that we're proud of, because it's something that we know we can represent and be authentic," Evestaff said. "If someone's taking a hockey shot, whether it's a snap shot or a slapshot, we are going to make sure that we're going to get it right or at least close anyways, but that we know the difference and that we're able to portray that. We feel quite at home with it." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
SHERBROOKE – It’s taken eight months and a million dollars, but Historic Sherbrooke Village has managed to paint the town red … and green … and brown … and, indeed, every restoration colour the living museum can conjure to bring tourists back in a post-pandemic world. Frankly, with visitation and revenue from visitation down by 80 per cent in 2020, compared with the previous year’s season, it’s not a moment too soon, notes Executive Director Stephen Flemming: “Visitor volume was very low in 2020, with all of our events, learning programs and public activities halted due to Covid-19. Still, he says, “It was a great year for site improvement and for this we owe a world of gratitude to all levels of government, our staff and our contractors, who assisted in this major undertaking. This 50th anniversary project is being completed on time and on budget and has fulfilled all objectives.” Last June, the Village received $1 million from the provincial government to renovate its world-renowned heritage properties by the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2021. Since then, the grant – part of a province-wide, $228 million community stimulus package designed to offset the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – has been used to repair and upgrade many of the living museum’s roughly 90 vintage structures, and complete work on a new community park. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see that they’ve succeeded during these very difficult times,” says Lloyd Hines, MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie and Minister of Transportation and Active Transit (formerly Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal), who represented the province at the announcement ceremony in June. “That wonderful facility was in urgent need of some major capital upgrades for sure, but I knew all along that they had great management.” Perhaps, but it was no walk in the historic park, either. Completed – or very near to completed – projects include: new roofs for Cool House, McMillan House, the nature centre, maintenance storage shed, courthouse, telephone office, boat shop, guide office and shed, the jailhouse, and Exhibit Centre, which also received major bathroom upgrades with accessibility components and outside work. The tearoom was fitted for a new roof, front and sides. St. James Church underwent a full renovation, receiving a new bell tower roof, front window replacements and glass, and an exterior paint job. The woodworking shop sported new windows and doors. Add to this: new LED street lights, 12 heat pumps throughout the Village, re-topped chimney flues, an expanded courthouse bathroom, and a new wheelchair-accessible park replete with gazebo. “Something like this does not come along every day,” says Rodney MacDougall, director of maintenance and restoration at the Village. “There were many challenges along the way … where you are put in charge of organizing a million-dollar budget, and making a village beautiful again. [But] I would absolutely do it again.” So would, it’s fair to say, Mark MacIsaac, who owns and operates MacIsaac Construction, the local construction firm contracted to manage much of the roofing. “It was great to see the historic architecture,” he says. “How well they did stuff back then … The quality of the work was amazing.” Says Lynn Hayne, the Village’s event manager: “Funding from the Canadian Heritage, COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Culture and Heritage and direction from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal allowed us to add an extra week of work for much of the Village staff and purchase cabinets and window coverings to preserve displays and protect the provincial heritage collection against sun damage and fading. In addition, it covered the purchase of electronics to catalogue and record collection items.” According to Flemming, all stimulus funds were spent in Nova Scotia, “with the vast majority spent close to home. This project created jobs and extended seasons for crews and created a major economic stimulus in our community at a time when it was dearly needed. Sherbrooke Village is ready and able to help with recovery from impacts of Covid-19 on tourism along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.” Prior to the outbreak, Historic Sherbrooke Village was one of the province’s must-see destinations, attracting an average of 25,000 visitors a year from across Canada and the world. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
The Town of Paradise has been named a winner in the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) annual Marketing Canada Awards 2020 in the single publication category for its “Just Imagine Retail Opportunities Brochure.” The brochure, which bears the name of Economic Development Officer Jennifer Penney, who was also awarded the EDAC’s President’s Award in October 2020, paints a picture of a vibrant, young, well-to-do, family-oriented community in hopes of enticing businesses to town. “She leads our efforts for economic development in the town and she does a fantastic job,” said Mayor Dan Bobbett. Bobbett applauded the work Penney has done in the six or so years she has been on staff. “I’d like to throw out a big bouquet to Jennifer Penney,” said Bobbett. “In my first term as mayor, we did an economic development strategy and that identified the need for an economic development officer, and since then we’ve been doing quite well.” He attributes the influx of chain companies and industrial park growth to the town’s commitment to strong economic development. “All those retail opportunities are a result of doing the leg work, and doing the research, and getting the numbers, and having it readily available for businesses when they call to ask questions about our town,” said Bobbett. The brochure, which contains current demographic information, ranging from traffic counts to population to the median household income, is made available to businesses considering setting up shop in Paradise. “These demographics that we have already on file to be readily available, that’s what these companies are looking for when they come to shop,” said Bobbett. “They want to know those things; they want to know what their market is. Jennifer has it already on hand, and she can send out the documentation to these companies…. People ask what are we doing to entice businesses to come. We can’t just go out and say, ‘Businesses, come here.’ We have to have the information, and the economic development officer works with those businesses.” Bobbett said strong economic development is just one piece of growing the community, but it’s an important one. “It’s about building a town that people will want to come live, work, and play in,” he said. “We still are maintaining one of the fastest growing municipalities in Atlantic Canada. Even during COVID last year, we had 77 housing starts — significant to everyone else on the Avalon. It’s a young population, and a growing population.” Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
PRAGUE, Czech Republic — The political crisis in Slovakia deepened on Wednesday after a member of the ruling coalition demanded a reconstruction of the Cabinet. The crisis was triggered by a secret deal to acquire Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine orchestrated by the country’s prime minister despite disagreement among his coalition partners. Richard Sulik, head of the Freedom and Solidarity party, said the situation in the coalition is so serious that “we can hardly continue this way.” “It’s evident we haven’t succeeded in the fight against the pandemic,” Sulik said. His party said unspecified changes in the government are needed for the coalition to continue. Sulik has often clashed with Prime Minister Igor Matovic over how to tackle the pandemic but the current crisis is the most serious problem the coalition has faced. Matovic has defended the deal to acquire 2 million Sputnik V vaccines, saying it will speed up the vaccination program in one of the European Union's countries hit hardest by the pandemic. But it was condemned by Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok, who was nominated to the post by Sulik’s party and who said the vaccine was a tool in Russia’s hybrid war against the West. Korcok said the purchase cast doubts on his country’s clear pro-Western orientation. Another coalition partner, the For People party, didn’t rule out an option to leave the coalition. The head of that party, Deputy Prime Minister Veronika Remisova, said any vaccine needs approval from the EU’s drug regulator. Matovic acknowledged on Wednesday that he acquired the Russian vaccine against the will of his partners but urged them not to use the conflict to destroy their coalition. “As the prime minister, I think it's my duty to do the maximum to save the lives and health of people in Slovakia,” he said in a video message. Remisova met Sulik and other leaders — including another critic of the Sputnik V deal, President Zuzana Caputova — over the crisis Wednesday. After the meeting, Sulik said his party was “by no means” in favour of early elections. Parliament speaker Boris Kollar, the leader of the fourth coalition party, We Are Family, called on his partners to put aside their disputes and negotiate a way to move forward. Kollar invited representatives of all the four coalition parties to meet later Wednesday. Pro-Western Matovic struck a deal last year to govern with the pro-business Freedom and Solidarity party; the conservative For People, a party established by former President Andrej Kiska; and We Are Family, a populist right-wing group that is allied with France’s far-right National Rally party. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Karel Janicek, The Associated Press
There was no appetite at the West Nipissing council meeting Tuesday to support Parry Sound’s call for improved dialogue with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. Council had given Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health for the district, near-unanimous support at its last meeting and it didn’t waver despite mounting opposition to lockdowns. “This is not the time to make this a political issue,” Councillor Chris Fisher, who noted that Chirico is taking “a lot of flak” already from various elected officials, groups and individuals. Parry Sound’s resolution asked for a “more proactive approach to community outreach and communication” with both political and health leaders prior to making decisions. There have also been several open letters from West Nipissing residents urging council to take a stand against the decisions Dr. Chirico and the province have been making. Dave Lewington, for example, asked with no luck for the Health Unit to disclose its official order that closed down the snowmobile trails, outdoor rinks and toboggan hills, a move that was above and beyond the provincial framework for restrictions. “Taxpayers deserve accountability,” Lewington, a member of the Northern Ontario Libertarian Caucus stated in correspondence to West Nipissing council dated March 2, which was too late for the meeting’s agenda. “We are counting on you as our elected officials to stand up for the taxpayers in our region.” The Health Unit advised the snowmobile trails, outdoor rinks and hills could be used again last week. Rejean Venne has published several open letters calling on West Nipissing council to get more involved in putting pressure on Dr. Chirico to base his decisions on the data at hand instead of projections and fears of spread. Venne noted in his most recent piece that the North Bay Parry Sound District has fewer active cases per capita than other areas that have seen re-openings. “Although being permitted to enter the “Grey Zone” on March 8th would be better than nothing, I think our council needs to request a full transition to the actual framework as well as requesting to be consulted on any future deviations from this framework,” Venne wrote. Councillor Dan Roveda, West Nipissing’s representative on the Health Unit’s board of directors, said the issue should not even be discussed at this table. “Dr. Chirico has been as open as he can be,” Roveda said. Councillor Denis Senecal said the decisions being made by the Health Unit “follow science this far … Dr. Chirico has steered us straight so far, this is not the time to waver.” Mayor Joanne Savage said she understand that business owners and individuals are anxious to hear what the update this Friday will be on the provincial “stay at home” orders for different areas. “They don’t know how long they can continue to stay in lockdown,” she said, adding that said even West Nipissing’s emergency management team would prefer to have early information on what decisions are being made. Earlier in the meeting, council discussed the limited financial options it could consider to help the municipalities business owners and residents. “There’s not much we can do financially,” Savage said, prior to discussing a motion to consider a motion to grant deferral periods for payment of interim property tax bills. Council agreed to give a 120-day deferral on the interim tax bills that would have required payments at the end of the month. And those who are already in arrears will be able to discuss their individual situations with staff to see what can be done on a case-by-case basis. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
OTTAWA — Two prominent Jewish advocacy groups are voicing anti-Semitism concerns ahead of a public conversation between NDP MP Niki Ashton and former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.The heads of the Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Board of Deputies of British Jews say Corbyn is "toxic" and that the planned livestream talk between him and Ashton risks pulling New Democrats in a direction "antithetical" to Canadian values.Corbyn was booted from the British Labour party in October amid accusations he had weakened efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism.The party has been grappling with allegations anti-Semitism was allowed to fester under Corbyn, a longtime supporter of Palestinians and a critic of Israel who led the party for almost five years from 2015. Ashton has been promoting the March 20 chat, which will be hosted by Progressive International, an organization launched in 2018 by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Canadian author Naomi Klein and other progressive politicians and activists.Ashton and the NDP did not respond immediately to requests for comment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021.—With a file from The Associated Press The Canadian Press
Jim Hodder is seen in 1985, when the former longtime Liberal MHA announced he was crossing the floor to join the Tories. (CBC) Jim Hodder, whose political career in Newfoundland and Labrador spanned several decades, has died. He was 80. Hodder represented the district of Port au Port in two different stints, and carried the banner of two parties. First elected as a Liberal in 1975, he rocked that party's caucus a decade later by crossing the floor to join the Brian Peckford PCs. A former teacher in Stephenville, Hodder left politics before the 1993 election. He made a comeback, though, in 2003, when he defeated former Liberal cabinet minister Gerald Smith, and helped Danny Williams's Tories regain power. Hodder, who served in cabinet as tourism minister, retired from politics altogether in January 2007, nine months before the next general election. At the time, Hodder cited health concerns as his motivation for leaving. "I have some medical problems and I haven't really been paying attention to them, so I thought I'd better get out ahead of the Grim Reaper," he told CBC at the time. In a statement, PC Leader Ches Crosbie paid tribute to Hodder as someone who was "highly regarded by people on all sides of the House, and loved throughout his district." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Members of the Eastern Newfoundland Regional Appeal Board have ruled the Town of Paradise was correct in refusing an application by Fairview Investments in August of 2019 for a commercial plaza with a drive thru on Topsail Road. The main concern of the town, as citied in the appeal board document, was the safety of students attending a nearby school. The board found that the Town followed due process as per its Development Regulations, which require that it consult with the public and that representations received be considered by council before taking a vote on a discretionary use application. The Shoreline reached out to Fairview to inquire as to whether there were plans to submit the application for another location, but did not receive a response. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
The social media persona "Roaring Kitty," whose online posts helped spark January's trading frenzy in GameStop Corp shares, appeared before Massachusetts securities regulators on Wednesday to testify as part of an examination into his activities. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state's top securities regulator, last month subpoenaed Keith Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was a registered broker and working at the insurer MassMutual. He was a key figure in the so-called "Reddit rally," which saw shares of GameStop surge 400% in a week before crashing back to pre-surge levels.
SOUTH DUNDAS – Two employees of the Municipality of South Dundas have left their positions in the last month, and a third person is retiring. Recreation program coordinator Jamie Scott resigned from his position, with his last day being on February 16th. Scott was with the municipality for nearly two years and hired in May 2019. Meagan Bingley, who was business retention and expansion coordinator for South Dundas’ economic development department, departed to return to the insurance industry. Bingley was hired in October 2020. Director of Corporate Services andClerk Brenda Brunt informed council last week of her upcoming retirement. Her nearly 31 year career with South Dundas and pre-amalgamation Williamsburg Township has seen Brunt serve as clerk, marriage commissioner and at one point acting-CAO. More information on Brunt’s retirement will be presented in a report to council, which is expected on March 22nd. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says extra vaccine shipments could make it possible to vaccinate all willing Canadian adults before September. The United States has an earlier target at the end of May, but Trudeau cautions against using the U.S., with its worse record of infections and deaths, as a guide for what Canada does.
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter HILLIARDTON – A young Kerns Township girl has been named Ducks Unlimited Canada’s newest Wetland Hero. Lucy Harrison, 10, has been volunteering at the Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education Centre for roughly the last three years and was nominated for the program by research and education coordinator Bruce Murphy. Harrison said that after learning Murphy had nominated her for the program, she contemplated what she should do. “I decided to write a letter to the government about saving wetlands and I sent that letter and I’m hoping to get a response,” she explained in a telephone interview. “For the marsh I’m hoping to plant more trees, trying to make more wetlands and getting more people involved with nature and everything. People in the cities, they come up here and all of a sudden it’s this big change and I want people to see that the marsh is important, and everywhere else with the wetlands, and if we don’t show that then the government might say it’s not important anymore and cut it down and I want to save that.” According to the Ducks Unlimited Canada website, Wetland Heroes are young people under the age of 25 “who make a difference by taking action to conserve and protect Canada’s wetlands. They can be individuals, classes, schools or community youth clubs or groups.” Murphy said that Harrison is the first person the Hilliardton Marsh has ever nominated for the program and she would likely be the only one in Ontario named to it this year. “Basically it’s a program to encourage kids to become involved in their communities,” he explained in a telephone interview. “I’m not that totally familiar with it but it sounds pretty exciting, and to have someone from our own community getting it. She’s the only one from our community that has that designation.” There are many ways that Wetland Heroes can take action against wetland loss, including writing letters, talking to politicians, raising money, enhancing habitat or increasing awareness. A NATURAL Murphy noted that Harrison has been helping on and off at the marsh over the last three years. When Harrison started at the marsh, she helped enter data into the popular citizen science app e-Bird. Soon after that she started helping with other tasks around the marsh, including checking nets and banding birds. Murphy said that bird banding isn’t normally taught to kids younger than 10, but Harrison showed a natural ability that she could handle it. “She was more of an observer at the beginning and then really it’s in the last year that she really started to get some skills that she was able to help out a bit more,” he noted. “When we’re doing the banding, the nets are really tricky. It’s kind of a fussy little skill to take birds out of the net. It’s not that it’s that difficult, it just takes patience and you really do have to have a fairly good finger dexterity, which most of the time young kids don’t have. But Lucy, she was just a natural. I know she does a lot of sewing and stuff like that, so maybe that’s accounted for it.” Murphy said often the marsh has adults who struggle with getting birds out of the nets, so to have a 10-year-old who was able to do it so efficiently was “quite remarkable.” “We’ve had a couple of kids over the years that were kind of a natural at doing it but the other thing is you also have to have kids that have enough maturity, which is odd to say for a 10-year-old. The kids just have to have the right temperament and willingness to be teachable, really. So that’s what we found with Lucy, she was just kind of a natural and she’s really patient, so all of the attributes that you need for that to happen she possesses.” Over the past three years, Harrison has spent over a thousand hours at the marsh. She’s extracted hundreds of birds from nets and banded them. As her confidence has grown, so too has her love of the natural world. “When I first met her, she was so quiet,” said Murphy. “She’s become much more confident since coming here. It’s been a real joy to see.” Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
TORONTO — Veteran Canadian strawweight Randa (Quiet Storm) Markos will face Luana Pinheiro at UFC 260 on March 27. It will mark the 17th UFC fight for the 35-year-old from Windsor, Ont., who made her debut in the promotion in December 2014. Markos (10-10-1) has lost three straight and four of her last five, dropping her record in the UFC to 6-9-1. Markos lost a decision to Japan's Kanako Murata last time out in November. Pinheiro (8-1-0) is making her UFC debut after posting a first-round KO win in November over Stephanie Frausto in Dana White's Contender Series. The 27-year-old Brazilian has won her last six outings. The main event at the UFC's Apex production facility in Las Vegas sees Stipe Miocic (20-3-0) put his heavyweight title on the line against No. 1 contender Francis (The Predator) Ngannou (15-3-0). Miocic won by unanimous decision when they met at UFC 220 in January 2018, There are two other Canadians on the UFC 260 card. Flyweight Gillian (The Savage) Robertson, a native of Niagara Falls, Ont., who makes her home in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., faces Miranda (Fear The) Maverick and Quebec middleweight Marc-Andre (Power Bar) Barriault takes on Morocco's Abu (Gladiator) Azaitar. Robertson and Miranda were supposed to meet Feb. 13 at UFC 258 but the Canadian had to withdraw due to a non-COVID-related illness. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Waterous Energy Fund says it has prevailed in its takeover of private junior oilsands producer Osum Oil Sands Corp. It says a total of 45.7 million Osum shares, about 34 per cent of the outstanding total and more than 50 per cent of the shares the fund didn't already own, were deposited to its offer of $3 per share by the expiry date. The fund says it intends to buy the remaining shares within four months. Osum leaders reversed their strong opposition to the Waterous deal last month after the initial offer of $2.40 per share was increased by 25 per cent. Waterous, a Calgary investment firm established in 2017 and headed by CEO Adam Waterous, said it bought 45 per cent of the outstanding shares last July from Osum's three largest shareholders. It says five of Osum's directors and four executive officers, including CEO Steve Spence, have voluntarily resigned. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Myanmar's military says it is ready to withstand sanctions and isolation after its Feb. 1 coup, a top United Nations official said on Wednesday as she urged countries to "take very strong measures" to restore democracy in the Southeast Asian nation. U.N. special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said 38 people died on Wednesday - the most violent day since the coup - as the military quelled protests. Schraner Burgener is due to brief the U.N. Security Council on Friday.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island say there is no evidence of widespread community transmission and the health orders that closed schools and most non-essential businesses for three days will end at midnight Wednesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters that health officials haven't identified the source of an outbreak on the Island. But, she said, officials believe "there is a link" between the cluster of cases in Summerside and Charlottetown that led them to impose a three-day lockdown. "All new cases detected over the weekend are linked to other cases and close contacts or to travel outside of the province," Morrison said. "We are not seeing unlinked cases and there is no evidence of widespread community transmission." Premier Dennis King said the 11,000 COVID-19 tests conducted since the weekend provide confidence restrictions can be eased. "These are decisions we are comfortable in making because of the information we have gained through the testing," King said Wednesday. "We encourage Islanders to remain extremely vigilant and to continue to practise public health protocols, not just for your own safety but for the safety of all Islanders," he added. Morrison reported one new case of COVID-19 Wednesday, involving a woman in her 20s who is a close contact of a previously reported case. The woman has mild symptoms and is self-isolating. Morrison said results from about 800 tests are still pending, so there may be more positive cases. There are 22 active reported cases in the province — the highest number since the start of the pandemic. She said the three-day modified red alert gave officials time to determine the extent of the outbreak and to interrupt the chain of transmission. Starting Thursday, the province returns to the circuit-breaker measures announced last Saturday, which will remain in place until 8 a.m. on March 14. Each household can identify up to six consistent individuals to gather with. Organized gatherings are limited to 50 people and include concerts, worship services, movie theatre viewings, weddings and funerals. Fitness facilities, museums, libraries and retail stores can operate at up to 50 per cent of standard operating capacity. Morrison said the province expects to get the first shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the next week. King said he spoke to the prime minister Tuesday and told him P.E.I. will gladly accept the newly approved vaccine. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
LONDON — Prince Philip is “slightly improving” and the royal family is keeping its fingers crossed for the hospitalized royal's recovery, his daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said Wednesday. Philip, 99, has been hospitalized since being admitted Feb. 16 to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, where he was treated for an infection. On Monday, he was transferred to a specialized cardiac care hospital, St. Bartholomew’s, to undergo further treatment alongside testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition. “We heard today that he’s slightly improving. So that’s very good news," Camilla said during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination centre in London. "We’ll keep our fingers crossed.” The duchess is married to Prince Charles, eldest son of Philip and Queen Elizabeth II. Buckingham Palace said Monday that Philip was “comfortable and is responding to treatment but is expected to remain in hospital until at least the end of the week.’” The two-week stay is already Philip’s longest-ever stint in hospital. His illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus. Both Philip and the queen, who is 94, received COVID-19 vaccinations in January. Philip, who retired from royal duties in 2017, rarely appears in public. During England’s current coronavirus lockdown, Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, has been staying at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and is the longest-serving royal consort in British history. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. The Associated Press
Classes resumed on March 1 with the Jasper Dance Program following the province’s approval of such activities and owner Nicole Koebel couldn’t be happier. “It’s so nice to see the kids,” the longtime dance instructor said. “It’s such a positive thing to do.” From Monday to Thursday for the next three weeks, young folks from six to 17 will be attending classes at various times in the multipurpose hall at the Activity Centre. In line with health restrictions, Koebel and nine students will keep at least three metres apart while practicing a variety of dance styles. Koebel will also teach a dance class to residents at Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge on March 15 and 29 at 1 p.m. The Jasper Dance Program has been running since 2000. “I teach ballet, hip hop, jazz, musical theatre, world dance, contemporary and lyrical,” Koebel said. And she’s well-versed in this field as Koebel took her first official dance lesson at the age of four in Jasper. “It was highland dancing,” Koebel said. “I remember the class. The teacher kept me behind so I could show everyone a particular routine.” Right off the bat, Koebel tuned into her passion for teaching. When she got home from that class, she ‘taught’ her two-year-old sister, Tamara, the moves she had been shown. “Teaching is my passion - it brings such joy,” she said. “It’s something that’s in my blood. There’s so much to dance.” Her love of dancing was nurtured at home. “My dad loved music,” she said. She and Tamara, who went on to become a professional dancer, danced together for many years. Koebel went on to get a degree in dance education at the University of Calgary. When she returned to Jasper years later in 1996 after working at her full-time job, Koebel taught dance lessons part time. “It just grew - I eventually made that my career focus,” she said. “It was a leap of faith. When you really love something and you pursue it and you're in your element, then good things follow. I’m so blessed to be able to do this.” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh