Meteorologist Jessie Uppal has the details.
Meteorologist Jessie Uppal has the details.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Manchester City looks to make it 21 straight wins in all competitions by beating Wolverhampton to move 15 points clear in the Premier League. Wolves has caused City issues recently, beating Pep Guardiola's side home and away last season, but does not have star striker Raul Jimenez this time round as he recovers from a fractured skull. “The history against them shows us how tough it is and we know it perfectly," Guardiola said. “We know exactly the type of game we have to play — to be so intense but, at the same time, calm." City is in the middle of a hectic period featuring games every three or four days so will rotate again, with Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva among those likely to be recalled. Manchester United is City's nearest challenger, 12 points back, and plays Crystal Palace on Wednesday. GERMANY Borussia Mönchengladbach has lost all three games since the club announced that coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund next season. The teams meet in the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, when Rose will hope to end the negative spiral against his future employers. Gladbach’s troubles started before Rose’s departure was made known. It hasn’t won its last five Bundesliga games. While Gladbach has been on a slump, Dortmund’s fortunes are looking up after three wins in a row including a 4-0 rout of Schalke in the derby and a 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. Coach Edin Terzic seems to be enjoying his role now the pressure has been taken off with Rose’s arrival at the end of the season. Both teams know the German Cup is a realistic chance of a trophy with reigning champion Bayern Munich already knocked out of the competition. ITALY Injury-hit Juventus needs a win against lowly Spezia to boost its faltering title defence. The nine-time defending champion drew at Hellas Verona 1-1 last weekend to leave it 10 points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan, albeit having played a match less. Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Arthur and Paulo Dybala, who are all injured. Forward Álvaro Morata could recover enough for a place on the bench. Also, Lazio could move level with fourth-place Atalanta if it wins at home to relegation-threatened Torino. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has eased slightly more restrictions tied to COVID-19. Libraries can now open at 15 per cent capacity and gyms can now host indoors low-impact group activities, like Pilates and tai chi. Kenney had been expected to ease rules in other areas, such as retail capacity and hotels, but he says the COVID numbers have hit a plateau and they need more time to assess just to be safe.
Businesses all across Canada are having difficulties keeping shelves stocked as the demand continues to soar. According to the Statista market forecast, puzzle sales in Canada will hit over $85 million US by the end of the year. Here in Fox Creek, the demand is just as high, but with innovative thinking, the Fox Creek Library resolved that issue for residents. The library now has a collection of puzzles to borrow, the same as you would sign out a book. All you need is your free library membership card, and the puzzle can be taken home for the 21-day loan period. The collection consists of around 50 puzzles presently and varies in degrees of difficulty and size. For those up to the challenge, they even have box collections with multiple puzzles inside—no matter what level of puzzle, they have something for everyone. Whether you like animals, nostalgic pictures, beautiful outdoor scenery, mountainscapes or cottages in the country, take your pick. You can check out their Facebook page, choose a puzzle and call the library at 780-622-2343 to make a reservation for curbside pick up. Like many other toys and fashions, Puzzles seem to have made a full circle in their popularity from decades when they were all a rave. The puzzle was first invented in 1766 by cartographer and engraver John Spilsbury. A map of Europe was placed onto a hardwood sheet and dissected the boundaries, thus creating a puzzle. Once complete, the puzzle was used for teaching children all about geography. It wasn't until the early 1800s when manufacturers picked up on the idea and began doing their puzzles. The puzzles back then were developed out of large, bulky wood pieces, cut by hand, then painted. The manufacturing of cardboard puzzles appeared about 80 years later but didn't become popular until the Great Depression. Since that time, puzzles have steadily improved in designs, the product used and how they're manufactured. On a fun note, a gigantic commercial puzzle available was manufactured in 2020 and contained 54,000 pieces. For those who have patience and love to puzzle, clear out your home and prepare for this beast. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
The United States is expected to impose sanctions to punish Russia for the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as early as Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter said. President Joe Biden's decision to impose sanctions for Navalny's poisoning reflects a harder stance than taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump, who let the incident last August pass without punitive U.S. action. The sources said on Monday on condition of anonymity that the United States was expected to act under two executive orders: 13661, which was issued after Russia's invasion of Crimea but provides broad authority to target Russian officials, and 13382, issued in 2005 to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a large property on Opinicon Lake near Chaffey’s Lock. The 30-hectare (74-acre) piece of land in the heart of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only World Heritage Site, is also within the Frontenac Arch UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The location provides critical habitat for many species-at-risk, the RWLT said in a release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. The Frontenac Arch also provides a “land bridge” that connects the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield to the forests of the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains. The organization says this link helps to maintain genetic diversity in plant and animal life as our climate continues to undergo change. According to the release, the land abuts provincially significant wetlands, is near the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), and has been used for scientific research and education. The current owners now wish to sell the land and its acquisition is an ideal project to help the Trust celebrate its 25th year of successful operation. Since it’s incorporation in 1996, the RWLT has been able to preserve 20 significant properties through ownership and conservation easement while expanding its area of interest to include all the communities within the Rideau Corridor from Kingston to Ottawa. If RWLT is successful in this fundraising campaign, they say the property will be added to the Land Trust’s collection. A map of the properties protected by the RWLT can been seen here, and includes the popular Rock Dunder hiking trail near Morton, Ontario. The property up for purchase was once owned by Don and Mary Warren. Don was one of the founders of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, an educator and activist who led the community’s resistance to the plan to electrify the Rideau Canal’s locks in the 1960s, according to the release. The organization says Mary was an enthusiastic supporter and was instrumental in convincing Don to purchase this property in 1965. The opportunity to establish the Warren Nature Reserve is a fitting tribute to their foresight, RWLT said in the release. RWLT is seeking to raise $120,000 towards the $435,000 project cost by April 2021; all donations will be used to leverage matching government funding. The RWLT expects the government funding to cover 40 per cent of the land acquisition cost, providing they are able to raise the other 60 per cent. RWLT has a very short timeframe to raise these funds, and say any and all donations from local communities would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested can learn more about this project at www.rwlt.org/warren. Donations can be made at www.rwlt.org/donate, noting “Warren Property” in the donation comments. All donations will receive a charitable receipt. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Residents of a backpackers’ hostel now being used as housing for low-income people hope they’ll be able to stay permanently, but the future of 1025 Granville St., along with 20 other Metro Vancouver hotels recently leased by the province, is up in the air. “I have friends, good friends here, who lived on the streets for years,” said Chris, a resident who became homeless last February when he lost his job. “You know what I see here? I see them smile every day.” The building is a standard single-room occupancy hotel, an older style of hotel that features small rooms and shared bathrooms, and often houses very low-income people. Between 2002 and 2020, the Granville hostel was operated as a low-cost tourist accommodation by Hostelling International Canada. But with tourism falling during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became one of 21 Metro Vancouver hotels leased by the province to provide shelter or to use as COVID-19 isolation space. Some residents came from a tent city that had been located at Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside for two years, while others had been living rough in other parts of Vancouver or staying in shelters. With the hotels in place, the province and City of Vancouver removed the Oppenheimer Park encampment in May 2020. The province also bought the 110-room Howard Johnson Hotel at 1176 Granville St. for $55 million, just a block away from the Granville hostel, and awarded an operating contract to Atira Women’s Resource Society. Community Builders operates the former hostel at 1025 Granville St. Initially, public reception to the new housing on Granville Street was rough, with neighbours complaining about discarded needles and an increase in street disorder. But the current operator of the hostel says leasing 1025 Granville St. to formerly homeless Vancouverites has worked out well, with residents now thriving in a well-maintained building that has fostered community. “The Granville hostel has been a really remarkable success story,” said Julie Roberts, the executive director of Community Builders. “Some people that have been long-term residents of the park hadn’t been housed for a number of years or longer. We just found that people have really settled in, and a really strong community has formed.” Martin, who had been homeless for three years before ending up in the hospital with pneumonia, went first to a shelter and then to the hostel last June. “It’s fantastic here,” Martin said. “It’s safe and it’s clean, they feed us if we’re hungry. They really take good care of us. I hope I’m staying here for life!” Along with building staff, Martin, Chris and other residents often do volunteer work to keep the sidewalk clean and have made an effort to build relationships with nearby business owners. Roberts also sits on a community dialogue committee that includes other housing operators, businesses and neighbouring residents. “We’ve been an operator of shelters and non-profit housing on Granville Street for the last 15 years, so we know that homelessness has been a long-standing issue,” Roberts said. “And I think that sites like the Granville hostel and some of the shelters we operate actually make the businesses safer because people are inside and not outside, and they have a safe place to be. That’s our perspective, though I do know that there are some concerns that remain.” When it comes to how long the residents will be able to stay at 1025 Granville St., BC Housing says the length of the leases for the hotels vary, “and we typically have the option to extend by mutual agreement for as long as necessary.” Laura Matthews, a communications staffer with BC Housing, told The Tyee in an email that the agency usually has the option to extend the lease if the building owner agrees. But Matthews said BC Housing cannot release lease terms for any of the hotels and will not reveal the locations of the hotels. “Generally, as we get closer to a lease expiring, we either work to help people stay where they are by extending the lease or through other means, or we support them to transition to alternate accommodation,” Matthews wrote. “We understand the concerns people may have and we will communicate as much as possible with people as plans are finalized for individual locations. We do not want to see anyone forced back into homelessness.” A spokesperson for the owner of the hostel, Hostelling International, said the association cannot comment on the terms of the lease. Hostelling International operates 50 hostels across Canada. “Out of an abundance of caution, we made the very difficult decision to temporarily close our hostels in light of public health advice at the time,” Shelby Sy wrote to The Tyee in an email. “With our properties closed, HI Canada was pleased to give back to the city by leasing HI Vancouver Central as a housing solution to the most vulnerable in our city.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
(Submitted by Bill Schurman - image credit) Islanders who have lost their incomes or had their hours reduced by 12 hours a week between Feb. 28 and March 14 because of new COVID-19 restrictions are eligible for $500 in help from the provincial government, a P.E.I. cabinet minister said Monday. Matthew MacKay, the minister of economic growth, tourism and culture, said the King government is relaunching the P.E.I.'s Emergency Payment for Workers as of Tuesday. He said the payment will be provided in addition to any government assistance such as employment insurance. On Sunday, the province announced a 72-hour circuit breaker that left non-essential businesses closed or limited, meant no in-room dining at restaurants, shut down recreational facilities, and reduced the capacity at retail stores still allowed to serve the public. MacKay said the province is also relaunching $100 grocery gift cards for workers laid off from Feb. 28 to March 14, and rolling out a $1-million fund for Islanders who must take time off work due to illness and don't have paid sick leave. "We want to make sure people can put food on their table," MacKay said. MacKay said the province will be meeting with the business community as well, about support the owners of affected companies might need in order to stay afloat. Information on the new assistance will available on the provincial government website. No new cases yet After a weekend that saw 11 new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Islanders got good news Monday afternoon: No new cases have been identified since Sunday evening. "A total of 6,632 COVID-19 tests were completed on Saturday and Sunday," said a provincial government release issued just after 3 p.m. AT. "This includes 2,250 results from the Three Oaks Clinic in Summerside, which was set up for targeted testing of young people in the area. "All results so far are negative, and an additional 1,600 results are still pending." P.E.I. Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling later told CBC News: Compass that about 3,000 tests had been collected as of late afternoon Monday, with many more expected at clinics scheduled to stay open until 8 p.m. Since there are no new cases, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison was not holding a media briefing Monday, the news release said. Her regular weekly briefing will take place on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. AT, the usual time. The news comes on the first day of a three-day period of enhanced public health measures intended to slow transmission of the coronavirus after outbreaks in Summerside and Charlottetown late last week. "There are currently 18 active cases of COVID-19 in the province; all are self-isolating and being followed daily by public health," said Monday's news release. "Over 190 people have been identified as close contacts of the cases." P.E.I. continues to have no deaths or hospitalizations due to COVID-19, but there are 18 active cases thanks to two recent outbreaks. Officials feared the virus that causes COVID-19 might be spreading among asymptomatic teens and young adults, so Premier Dennis King and Morrison's office brought in what they called "Alert Level Red measures with modifications." Schools across P.E.I. have shut, non-essential businesses are closed to the public, and private and organized gatherings are being strongly discouraged. Meanwhile, testing is being ramped up at several locations, especially for those who visited sites of potential public exposure in the last two weeks. More from CBC P.E.I.
Mass vaccinations will be the key to controlling a potential third wave in Chatham-Kent, says the region’s top doctor. Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby said the highly transmissible variants are keeping public health officials on their toes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other health officials have warned a third wave could be the worst yet, but Dr. David Colby remains optimistic. “I really think that widespread vaccination will have a significant impact to blunt the effect of the third wave,” said Colby. “The worrying factor are these variants, and that’s really what is fueling the speculation about a third wave.” Colby said there are three variants of concern. “The common variant, the B.1.1.7 variant, remains susceptible to the immune response triggered by the vaccines that we have,” said Colby. “We need to push ahead with our vaccination program and get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.” The interval between the first and second doses is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. However, Colby said it could be up to 45 days as there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. “There isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. He added that most of the protection happens with the first dose, while the second dose is to consolidate protection and ensure that it lasts for a longer time. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines,” said Colby. On Feb. 23, the John D. Bradley Convention Centre opened its vaccination clinic. There were 700 appointments for health-care workers and essential caregivers on the first two days. Colby said the clinic is running smoothly. “It’s such an important step for Chatham-Kent,” said Colby. “The Bradley Centre clinic is really doing very, very well, and they hit the ground running.” While he could not go into detail regarding more vaccine shipments, Colby said we’re heading in the right direction. “All indicators that we have right now point to the fact that vaccine supplies will be stable or increasing over the next while,” said Colby. Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall is warning the public about recent robocalls claiming to be for booking vaccinations. These calls can be dangerous as they are really aimed at collecting people’s personal information. She said these calls are not official and should be ignored. Marshall said a live person will make all vaccination booking calls. “People will be contacted by a live person, and no one should be giving out their personal information like social insurance numbers and those kinds of things on the phone,” said Marshall. CK Public Health said Chatham-Kent Police are aware of the issue, and there is no need to report these calls to them at this time. Colby said people who can’t travel to Chatham would have an opportunity to get vaccinated at pop-up clinics across the municipality when they are set up. Paramedics will be vaccinating individuals who are housebound when they’re identified through their doctors. The homeless population falls under Phase 2. Additionally, Colby said there are mechanisms in place to get to those who are missed. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Alors que Québec signale son intérêt pour l’énergie gaspésienne de façon de plus en plus évidente, Ottawa entre dans la danse. Le gouvernement fédéral vient d’annoncer une contribution de 1,5 million $ au centre de recherche sur les énergies renouvelables Nergica de Gaspé. L’organisation compte continuer à développer les filières des énergies solaires et éoliennes grâce à cette aide. Le centre de recherche pourra embaucher quelques nouveaux employés et acquérir de nouveaux équipements avec l’aide annoncée ce matin par les ministres Lametti et Lebouthillier. Le financement d’Ottawa se détaille en deux projets. Tout d’abord,un peu plus d’un million sera consacré au fonctionnement de l’organisme à but non lucratif. «Cette somme va nous servir à payer des factures, engager du personnel et entretenir nos installations. C’est quelque chose de récurrent», explique le directeur général de Nergica, Frédéric Côté. Ensuite, quelque 400 000$ seront dédiés à l'acquisition de matériel nécessaire au développement de l’organisme. «C’est de la quincaillerie, des équipements de recherche pour nos installations de Rivière-au-Renard», note M. Côté, qui juge que cette somme servira de levier pour s’engager dans de nouveaux projets. «Ce montant aura un effet multiplicateur. Il va nous permettre de développer des partenariats, nous donner les moyens de développer avec l’industrie.» Le vent dans les voiles pour l’éolien gaspésien Au cours des derniers mois, M. Côté a constaté un engouement de plus en plus visible pour les énergies renouvelables gaspésiennes. La semaine dernière, le premier ministre François Legault donnait la responsabilité de la Gaspésie et des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, (https://www.lesoleil.com/actualite/en-region/jonathan-julien-devient-ministre-responsable-de-la-gaspesie-iles-de-la-madeleine-aecf58dc40721ea52353e51805bfff37?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter) au ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, Jonatan Julien. Le directeur de Nergica voit d’un bon œil l'arrivée d’un nouveau ministre bien au fait des dossiers énergétiques. «La nomination de M. Julien est une excellente nouvelle pour le milieu. C’est quelqu’un qui a une réputation d’affaires et d’ouverture. On sent que l’éolien est au cœur de ses propos, au cœur de la vision du gouvernement», rapporte-t-il. Nergica embauche environ une trentaine d’employés et a un budget annuel d'environ 5 millions de $. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's COVID-19 vaccination-booking web page is experiencing technical issues the first day it opened to people aged 80 and over.The Health Department said today on Twitter its web page has been temporarily disabled as a precaution after booking service CANImmunize reported a slowdown because of high traffic volume.The department says CANImmunize is investigating and in the meantime, people who want to book an appointment can do so by telephone — although it says call volumes are also high.About 48,000 people in Nova Scotia are at least 80 years old and are eligible to get shots at a series of community clinics scheduled to open this month across the province.Health officials are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today and a total of 35 active known infections.They say that as of Sunday, the province had administered 32,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 12,845 people having received a booster shot.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC - image credit) York Regional Police have identified a man who was found dead on a road in Vaughan, Ont. last week and say he died as a result of gunshot injuries. On Feb. 25, at approximately 8 a.m., officers received a call regarding a body located at the end of a dead end street on Teston Road at Rodinea Road, just east of Keele Street. When officers arrived, they located a man who was pronounced dead at the scene. The death was deemed suspicious and York police's homicide unit was called in to investigate. On Monday, the man was identified as 57-year-old Gus Kouboules of Richmond Hill. A post-mortem revealed his cause of death was as a result of gunshot injuries. Police didn't release any more information about the circumstances leading up to his death. Investigators are appealing to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area or anyone with home surveillance video to contact them.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Biden administration is pulling back an environmental review that cleared the way for a parcel of federal land that Apaches consider sacred to be turned over for a massive copper mining operation in eastern Arizona. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that it likely will take several months to further consult with Native American tribes and others about their concerns over Oak Flat and determine whether the environmental review fully complies with the law. The agency cited President Joe Biden's recent memo on strengthening relationships with tribal nations, and regularly consulting with them in a meaningful way. The USDA and the U.S. Forest Service acknowledged they can only do so much. Congress mandated that the land be transferred to Resolution Copper no later than 60 days after the final environmental review was published. The document was released in the last days of Donald Trump's administration. Michael Nixon, an attorney for the Apache Stronghold group that filed the first of the lawsuits, said the USDA's decision is welcome but doesn't have much impact. “Oak Flat is still on death row,” he said. “Essentially, they're just changing the execution date.” Dan Blondeau, a spokesman for Resolution Copper, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The parcel of land in the Tonto National Forest east of Phoenix was set to be transferred to Resolution Copper by mid-March. At least three pending lawsuits have raised concerns over religious freedom rights, land ownership and violations of federal law. The land transfer was included as a last-minute provision in a must-pass defence bill in 2014 after it failed for years as stand-alone legislation. Resolution Copper would get 3.75 square miles (9.71 square kilometres) of national forest land in exchange for eight parcels it owns elsewhere in Arizona. Apaches call Oak Flat “Chi’chil Bildagoteel.” The land near Superior has ancient oak groves, traditional plants and living beings that tribal members say are essential to their religion and culture. Those things exist elsewhere, but Apache Stronghold said they have unique power within Oak Flat. San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler said Monday that the tribe will continue working to permanently protect Oak Flat. Resolution Copper, a joint venture of global mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP, has spent millions of dollars prepping the area to mine copper, but actual mining isn't expected to start for at least 10 years. Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press
Hamilton schools reported 49 COVID-19 cases and one outbreak in the third week after the return to in-person learning. School boards reported 41 cases of the virus the previous week. The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 50,000, reported 29 cases — 26 students and three staff — between Feb. 22 and 28. In the same week, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, which serves approximately 29,000 students, reported 20 confirmed and probable cases of the virus — 14 students, three staff, two adult learners, and one “third-party employer.” There are currently 17 schools in the Catholic board with cases. An outbreak was declared at St. Eugene Catholic Elementary School reporting three confirmed cases of the virus — a staff member on Feb. 23, a “third-party employee” on Feb. 22 and a student on Feb. 15 — at the school. There is also an outbreak at St. Ann Catholic Elementary School in central Hamilton, where there are three positive staff cases. Outbreaks at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Elementary School, which reopened on Monday after being closed for more than a week, and A.M. Cunningham Elementary School were declared over. Hamilton public health lists the schools in outbreak as having “no variant” associated. Schools in Hamilton reopened for in-person learning on Feb. 8 with enhanced health and safety measures. Since students returned to in-person learning, there have been 100 cases and four outbreaks at school boards in Hamilton. Two cases of the virus were reported at Mohawk College over the weekend. A case of the virus was reported on Sunday in a student at the Mohawk Centre for Aviation Technology. The student was last in classes on Feb. 25. Public health has “carried out the investigation … and is in the process of contacting everyone who is considered to have been in close contact with the infected student,” reads a Feb. 28 update from the college. A case of the virus was reported on Saturday at Mohawk College’s Fennell campus. The infected student last attended class on Feb. 24. The college says “no other students have been asked to self-isolate related to this case.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
NEW YORK — The Tony Awards could bring Cynthia Erivo another Emmy. Days after the British performer belted Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” during a red carpet interview at the 2019 Tonys — explaining that it’s her guilty pleasure song — she got a call from the producers of the National Geographic series “Genius: Aretha.” “I was like, ‘I beg your pardon,’” she continued. “In my head I’m like, ‘There is another film happening and I’m excited to see that, so what is this?’” NatGeo had already completed series on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, and wanted to focus on the life of Franklin, who died 2018 and was arguably the greatest singer of all time. When Erivo, 34, went to meet with the producers, she had a bit of an epiphany. “Nothing else was playing in the hotel, it was just mood music,” she said. “All of a sudden ‘Day Dreaming’ comes on as I go to sit down. I’m like, ‘Am I the only one that noticed that?’” Laughing with a huge smile on her face, she continued: “I was like, ‘Either you planned that or someone’s trying to tell me something.’’” Fast forward two years and Erivo is playing the Queen of Soul in the eight-episode series debuting March 21. “Respect,” a film about Franklin starring Jennifer Hudson, will be released in August. In an interview with The Associated Press, edited for clarity and brevity, the Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner talked about meeting Franklin, playing icons on-screen and more. AP: What does Aretha mean to you? ERIVO: She means the world to me. As a singer, I truly believe that my job is to communicate and tell the stories that sometimes are difficult for people to tell for themselves ... Aretha did that with her eyes closed. She had a wonderful way of communicating the things that she had been through, through song. AP: She has this thing by which she can take someone else’s song and make it her own. ERIVO: Totally and it’s such a special thing. Not only does she take the song and make it her own, she takes the song and you forget it was someone else’s. That to me, it’s a really special thing that she was able to do. I don’t know that people realize that “Respect” wasn’t her song first. She finds messaging in songs, in music that you didn’t realize were there in the first place. I don’t know how, but she always managed to find a way into a song that you didn’t know existed. I know that this might not be a popular opinion but when she did her version of (Adele’s) “Rolling in the Deep,” I was like, “Huh, never heard this song like this before. Didn’t think about this song like this before.” At that point because she was an older woman singing this song, you’re like, all the experience that this person must have gone through to get to this point, I didn’t hear this before. Now I’m hearing it with her voice. She was one of a kind, truly. AP: Did you get a chance to meet her? ERIVO: I met her the first time when she’d come to a performance of “The Color Purple.” I didn’t know she was there. When I saw her, I felt like an idiot because I was just in shock. There is Miss Aretha Franklin standing in front of me and I’ve just finished singing a show in her presence, oh my goodness. How do I do this? She was funny and lovely. She sang the last line of “I’m Here” back to me. That was a moment I had to put my heart back together. I was like, “This is happening for real.” She was wonderful. When you meet someone like that, you don’t think they’ll remember your face. I met her again at the Kennedy Center Honors. I was singing the very first time I did it. She remembered me. She said, “You’re the girl who was in that play. You can sing. You can sing.” I was like, “Yes that’s me. Thank you very much.” I remember she was wearing red. My favourite thing about that day was when I saw the recording of it, when it finally aired, during my performance they pan to Aretha and she’s singing along with her eyes closed. AP: How do you feel about the people who say, “Cynthia doesn’t really look like Aretha?” ERIVO: No, in the same way that Diana Ross didn’t really look like Billie Holiday, but she did an incredible, incredible job when she did “Lady Sings the Blues.” ... I don’t think anyone does look like Aretha. If you found someone who looks like Aretha who couldn’t do the work, who can’t sing the songs, then that’s where you have a problem. I’d rather someone that doesn’t look like her but can give me the essence. AP: Are you excited to see the Jennifer Hudson version? ERIVO: I am. I know that they were close, and I know that they had a conversation. This is something she had been dreaming of doing. I am excited to see it. AP: How’s it been playing real-life icons on-screen? ERIVO: It’s a huge honour and it’s part of what I want for my lifetime — to be able to tell these stories of women whose stories wouldn’t get the chance to be told, whose stories deserve to be told. The more I can do that whether it be Harriet, Aretha or a woman you don’t know about who I’ve done the research to find out about, I want to keep bringing these stories to the forefront because they deserve to be told. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
GENEVA — A senior World Health Organization official said Monday it was “premature” and “unrealistic” to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalizations and death. The world’s singular focus right now should be to keep transmission of COVID-19 as low as possible, said Dr. Michael Ryan, director of WHO's emergencies program. “If we’re smart, we can finish with the hospitalizations and the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic” by the end of the year, he said at media briefing. Ryan said WHO was reassured by emerging data that many of the licensed vaccines appear to be helping curb the virus' explosive spread. “If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalization, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate toward controlling this pandemic.” But Ryan warned against complacency, saying that nothing was guaranteed in an evolving epidemic. “Right now the virus is very much in control," he said. WHO's director-general, meanwhile, said it was “regrettable” that younger and healthier adults in some rich countries are being vaccinated against the coronavirus before at-risk health workers in developing countries. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said immunizations provided by the U.N.-backed effort COVAX began this week in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, but lamented that this was happening only three months after countries such as Britain, the U.S. and Canada began vaccinating their own populations. “Countries are not in a race with each other,” he said. “This is a common race against the virus. We are not asking countries to put their own people at risk. We are asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere.” But WHO stopped short of criticizing countries who are moving to vaccinate younger and healthier populations instead of donating their doses to countries that haven't yet been able to protect their most vulnerable people. “We can't tell individual countries what to do,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO adviser. Tedros also noted that for the first time in seven weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases increased last week, after six consecutive weeks of declining numbers. He described the increase as “disappointing,” but said it wasn't surprising. Tedros said WHO was working to better understand why cases increased, but that part of that spike appeared to be due to the “relaxing of public health measures.” ___ AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng reported from London. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Maria Cheng And Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
MILAN — AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out again with injury and could miss his side’s Europa League match against Manchester United. Ibrahimovic had to come off on Sunday in the second half of a 2-1 win at Roma after injuring a muscle in his left thigh. The Swedish forward will be re-evaluated in 10 days. That is the date of the trip to Old Trafford for the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 against his former club. The 39-year-old Ibrahimovic will definitely be out for the Serie A matches against Udinese and Hellas Verona. The Associated Press
Local municipalities were among the 30 projects among a $1.39 million investment through the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on behalf of the federal government. The programs aim is to strengthen local infrastructure planning and decision-making by increasing local asset management capacity through investments in activities such as asset management training, technology and software enhancements and information sharing. This is part of the federal government's commitment to providing local communities with tools and support for evidence-based decision-making that will help them plan a healthier, safer and more prosperous future for everyone. “The COVID-19 health crisis has reinforced the importance of infrastructure that supports safe, sustainable and healthy communities. Everything from ensuring communities have potable water to internet access to park spaces requires good planning. The 30 projects announced today ensure Saskatchewan municipalities have the tools and technology necessary to make well-informed decisions for the long term. Canada's infrastructure plan is resulting in thousands of projects, creating jobs across the country and building stronger communities.” Jim CarrSpecial Representative for the Prairies on behalf of Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities said in a release. Municipalities receiving funding in the region included the RM of Moose Range which received $36,080 for an asset management plan, the District of Lakeland which received $50,000 for an asset management framework and system project and the RM of Porcupine which received $50,000 for an asset management roadmap and system project. “Municipalities of all sizes are Canada’s builders. They own nearly 60 percent of the public infrastructure that support Canada’s economy and quality of life. With strengthened asset management practices, they are making infrastructure investment decisions based on sound and reliable data. Supported by our strong federal-municipal partnership, FCM is delivering programs from coast to coast to coast that help municipalities in Saskatchewan do what they do best: deliver solutions that work.” Garth Frizzell, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities said in a release. MAMP offers funding, training, and resources to help small and medium sized municipalities improve their asset management policies and approaches enabling them to make solid infrastructure investment decisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a new stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories. The COVID-19 Resilience Stream will help other orders of governments whose finances have been significantly impacted by the pandemic by increasing the federal cost share for public infrastructure projects in a variety of areas including disaster mitigation and adaptation projects and pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Since 2016, the federal government has invested $28 billion in over 18,000 infrastructure projects in communities with populations under 100,000. More than 6,100 kilometres of highways and roads, and 103 bridges have been built, repaired or upgraded in rural communities, and more than 3,134 projects are providing rural communities with access to cleaner, more sustainable sources of drinking water. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
CALGARY — The Calgary Real Estate Board said Monday that the market has faced low inventory levels compared to sales for the past several months, while prices continued to climb. The board's February numbers show that prices jumped by about 8 per cent to reach an average of $485,870, up from $446,690 the year prior. CREB's chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie attributed the spike to pandemic conditions. “Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, housing activity continues to improve. Much of the strong sales activity is expected to be driven by exceptionally low mortgage rates,” she said. “Confidence is also likely improving as vaccine rollouts are underway. Additionally, some of the worst fears concerning the energy sector are easing with recent gains in energy prices.” Sales totalled 1,836 last month, a more than 54 per cent increase over February 2020 and a volume not seen since February 2014. New listings, however, didn't keep up the pace. They amounted to 2,848, a 13 per cent increase from 2,517 the year before. The gap between sales and new listings is doing little to help the market's inventory woes, CREB said. It estimated the area now has fewer than three months' worth of homes on the market. Conditions are particularly tight in the detached sector, especially for homes priced below $600,000, said CREB. That portion of the market alone has less than two months of housing supply, but is also experiencing the most significant price gains. Detached home sales in February amounted to 1,123, up from 678 the year prior, while prices edged up to $572,670 from $526,084 previously. New listings for the category were up about 17 per cent, but inventory was down by almost 30 per cent. At the other end of the housing spectrum, apartments and condos have a relatively high level of inventory compared to sales. CREB said 272 apartments sold in February, up from 209 the February before. Inventory in the category reached 1,433, a slight dip from 1,470 the year prior. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 1, 2021. The Canadian Press