Listen to this pet raccoon complain that his dinner is late. Hilarious!
Listen to this pet raccoon complain that his dinner is late. Hilarious!
MILTON, Ga. — In a black face mask and cap, activist Garrett Bess walked up driveway after driveway of million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta on a recent afternoon, placing a flyer in each door, ringing the bell and stepping away to make a socially distanced pitch to vote for the conservative candidates in Georgia's pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections.Bess' group, Heritage Action for America, plans to knock on half a million doors before the state's two Jan. 5 contests that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.“Everyone in Georgia knows the candidates,” said Janae Stracke, a colleague of Bess’ who also canvassed the subdivision. "There’s not a lot of convincing to do. They’ve made up their mind. It’s mostly knowing when to vote, how to vote, encouraging them to vote.”This election season, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. With people staying at home and limiting contact with outsiders, an extended conversation with a campaign worker who shows up uninvited may actually encourage people to vote for someone else.But it's a sign of how important the two Senate elections are that both parties and independent advocacy groups are going all in on their in-person get-out-the-vote efforts.After the GOP lost the presidential election in Georgia for the first time in 28 years, conservatives are urging Republicans to get more aggressive with their turnout efforts in the state to match the outreach of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.After Abrams lost the 2018 governor's race, she devoted herself to voter outreach, convinced that the state was a genuine battleground if Democrats galvanized young voters, minorities and people moving in from other states. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters in the state — efforts credited with helping Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia.Republicans have to catch up, Republican operative Karl Rove told Fox News.“Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a real race,” said Rove, who is leading fundraising efforts for the runoffs.The National Republican Senatorial Committee expects to have 1,000 staffers on the ground in Georgia. For comparison, the Republican National Committee had a total of 3,000 paid field staff across the whole country during the presidential race.Democrats carry their own baggage into the runoff. In many parts of the country, they limited face-to-face campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic, arguing that was the responsible thing to do. But that decision was second-guessed in places such as Florida.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to spend millions on voter registration and turnout efforts.Outside groups are also hitting the ground, and the in-person appeals will be supplemented with a fusillade of phone calls, text messages, mailers and ads aimed at boosting turnout for the races pitting Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.Democrats have reason for optimism after Biden's win, but his margin of victory was tiny — less than 13,000 votes of nearly 5 million cast — and it’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.But groups whose efforts tend to favour Democrats are charged. On Friday, representatives of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America went door to door in a neighbourhood just outside Atlanta encouraging people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.“If we don't get those two seats in Congress, everything we did to flip Georgia blue is not going to help us,” Phyllis Morrow told a couple that pulled over in their car.The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.”"They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.In Milton, Bess and Stracke were in friendly territory. The affluent, mostly white city about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Atlanta showed strong support for President Donald Trump in the November election. The neighbourhood they canvassed last week featured manicured lawns and spacious homes set back from the street.“Oh, you have no problem here,” Holly McCormick, 73, told Bess after he rang her doorbell. The flyers he carried warned that Georgia was the country’s “last line of defence from a socialist takeover.”McCormick called the outcome of the presidential race “rigged” though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and she said Trump’s claims of illegal votes made her more energized to vote for Perdue and Loeffler in January.“We have to hold the Senate,” she said.___Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
The union that speaks for jail workers says that COVID-19 is now in all of the Saskatchewan correctional centres.Saskatoon is the hardest hit, with 76 inmates and 15 staff testing positive for the virus as of Friday. That number is expected to rise as more test results come in, said Glenn Billingsley, a labour relations officer with the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU).Other positive cases include two staff at the Regina jail, one at the Prince Albert Correctional Centre, one at the Paul Dojack Centre, one at Kilburn Hall and one at a Prince Albert youth residence, he said.The Saskatoon jail is not accepting new inmates. People arrested in Saskatoon and remanded will be sent to a jail in another city.Billingsley said he isn't sure how long this will last."That direction could change on any given notice depending on the staff infection rate, as well as the inmate infection rate at all of those centres," he said.Staff at provincial court in Saskatoon on Friday worked with the new reality.Four of the five men arrested in the city Thursday were released this morning — one with an explicit warning from prosecutor Aaron Martens.The man is facing an assault allegation along with six other charges."This is a consent release but only on the narrowest of margins," Martens said."This is because of COVID-19 at the jail."On Thursday, SGEU proposed that the government give jail staff "optional accommodation" so that workers need not return to their households between shifts.It believes this could help prevent transmission of the virus into the community.The government said no."We're extremely disappointed in the government's reaction," Billingsley said."Transmission of the virus causes more stresses and more economic hardship on this province and the economy than simply supplying optional accommodation for our correction workers."What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
TORONTO — Rogers Sportsnet is parting ways with veteran Toronto Blue Jays radio announcer Mike Wilner.The broadcaster announced the split on its Twitter feed Friday. A reason wasn't given for the decision.Sportsnet said Wilner had a "voice that became synonymous with Blue Jays baseball."Wilner, the Blue Jays' first Toronto-born play-by-play broadcaster, became the full-time radio announcer alongside Ben Wagner prior to the 2019 Major League Baseball season. He also called most of the games in 2018 following the retirement of longtime announcer Jerry Howarth.Prior to joining the broadcast booth full-time, he served as a backup announcer and hosted the "Blue Jays Talk" pre- and post-game shows starting in 2002.Wilmer said on a social media post that "his heart is broken," but added he is grateful for getting a chance to "live an absolute dream."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The number of reported new cases of COVID-19 and related deaths surged in Ontario on Friday, a day after officials expressed cautious optimism the spread of the dangerous virus was moderating. Figures released show a record 1,855 new infections, a whopping increase of 25 per cent from the previous day. Public health authorities also reported 20 new deaths. There were slight decreases in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ventilators. The surge in new cases comes as the province grapples with how best to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in an effort to keep the health-care system functioning. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the sharp spike was not unexpected, given that stringent measures in the hard-hit Toronto area only kicked in on Monday. It would likely take two full weeks before the numbers start dropping, she said. "We're still seeing the results from some of the events that have happened and some of the celebrations that have happened in the last few weeks," Elliott said. Premier Doug Ford spent much of Friday's briefing looking forward to the day when an anti-COVID vaccine might be available. Former chief of national defence staff Gen. Rick Hillier will oversee a distribution task force, Ford said, as he called on the federal government to provide details as soon as possible about the doses the province can expect. "We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments," Ford said. Several hospitals have now experienced outbreaks, including a major facility in London, Ont. Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ont., became the latest hit after three patients and two staff tested positive. The facility said it had closed its clinical teaching unit to new patient admissions and was pondering whether to close one of its eight operating rooms. It also said it was suspending in-person visits in favour of virtual connections. Staff at high risk of exposure had been tested and asked to self-isolate, Cheryl Evans, a Grand River spokeswoman, said. In recent weeks, the provincial government and local health authorities have reimposed increasingly stringent anti-pandemic measures, forcing businesses to close and strongly advising people in hot spots to all but isolate. On Thursday, police ticketed a provincial politician, Randy Hillier, for his role in an anti-lockdown protest at the legislature. Supporters carrying placards that suggested the pandemic was fake did not wear masks. Ford called the politician totally "irresponsible." "Folks that believe this is just a big hoax, which I've never figured that out, this is a very serious virus, we're seeing it around the world, around our country," Ford said. Four of the hardest hit regions all saw significant case increases, with Elliott reporting 517 new infections in Peel, 494 in Toronto, 189 in York Region, and 130 in Halton. The most recent provincial projections indicate the province was on track to see more than 9,000 new daily COVID-19 cases by mid-December without the more stringent measures. Ford has warned against planning Christmas or other celebrations, while Elliott has said it would be "very optimistic" to expect much of an improvement in time for the holidays. While schools have remained open, the education minister has warned that an extended winter break or move to remote-only learning may be needed. "We are thinking ahead to be able to mitigate any increase of transmission in our schools because we've fundamentally, in this province, been able to keep that rate down,'' Education Minister Stephen Lecce said on Thursday. Latest figures show 122 new cases in schools, bringing the total infections to 4,470, with at least 2,769 involving students, and at least 614 involving teachers and staff. Public health authorities on Friday closed the private Northside Christian School in Listowel, Ont., until at least Dec. 1 after an outbreak. Huron Perth Public Health said the school reported one case but others might be connected. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal government is sending $542 million to Indigenous groups to help them set up welfare services for children and families, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday. The Canadian government has been promising to transfer control over child and family services to Indigenous governing bodies so they don't need to rely on outsiders to protect children in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. In 2019, Parliament passed a law to reform the system, requiring that children on reserves have access to services equal to those who live off reserves. The legislation also recognize that Indigenous Peoples' constitutional right to self-government includes the right to run their own welfare agencies. "We are keeping our promise to give them the support they need to keep children within their families and their communities, so they can grow up surrounded by the strength of their culture to achieve their full potential," Trudeau said. Child-protection agencies have often removed Indigenous children not just from their parents but out of their communities entirely when workers decide the kids aren't safe — often because a lack of funding left them with few other options. That's broken up families and hurt children's connections to their heritage. Federal census figures say Indigenous children make up more than half the kids in foster care across the country, despite being fewer than eight per cent of the children in Canada. "Behind these devastating numbers, there are real children, real and terrible stories," Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said Friday in a separate news conference. The new money is for everything from research and expert advice to consultations on how those Indigenous governments will establish and run their own child and family services, as well as to support their negotiations with provincial and federal authorities. Miller said this is an "essential step to correct the errors of the past" and will help unleash the potential of Indigenous young people who have been held back for generations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. The Canadian Press
The family of a man thought to be missing in the British Columbia wilderness is not giving up hope on the search as it closes in on its sixth week.Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen on Oct. 10 when he left for a hike at EC Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia, about two hours east of Vancouver. He was reported missing three days later after not showing up to a friend's Thanksgiving dinner.Naterer's parents live in St. John's. His mother, Josie, said the family and volunteer-led search has moved across the park. It will soon cross over the park's limits, she said."Aircraft went out last weekend, did a massive zig-zagging outside of the park boundaries," she said Friday. "We think it's possible Jordan could have wandered outside of the boundaries, and that's why we haven't found anything of our son."Naterer's mother said information and findings of the aerial search will be sent to volunteers on Monday, who will use the data to add new grids to the areas they're scouring."The grid is going to be huge, we've asked volunteers to take one grid at a time," she said.She said the move into the winter months has complicated the search to a degree, but that snow-covered ground and hard, dense terrain won't deter volunteers from continuing."If people were to see the areas that we have searched to date, they'd be surprised at how much we've walked, droned and flown through the park. But it's still not enough," she said."We're not giving up. We're continuing our search. We feel that our son has the possibility and chances of being alive and [he's] waiting for us to find him."Vancouver vigil 'the support that we needed'Sympathizers held an online vigil for Jordan in the Vancouver area Thursday night, which Naterer's mother said lifted her family's spirits."It was the support that we needed right now," she said. "This has been a very challenging time for our entire family, and it took us to a very comforting place."Our mornings start with hope, and though nothing is found that day, it's hard on all of us. So having the vigil last night just brought a warm feeling to our hearts."As the search wraps up its sixth week, Josie Naterer said the family has the resources to continue the search. They believe Jordan is still out there to be found."We have hope, we have the means," she said. "We're determined to find him. Whether it be today or next week in or two weeks, we won't give up."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Marketing students at Burnett secondary are giving back to their community. Inspired by the sacrifices and generosity of frontline workers, they were tasked with contributing through three goals: reinforcing the government’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, starting a non-profit fundraiser to give back to frontline organizations and workers, and developing a project to create or revitalize community spirit. “Normally the marketing classes would run a school store as part of their experiential learning experience, but with COVID it just wasn’t possible,” says marketing teacher Chris Lee. “As an alternative, I changed this component to be more of a social non-profit pop-up venture format.” The students developed a mechanical hand sanitizer that uses a gravity-enabled foot pump. A virtual social gathering focused on a pre-recorded talent show as well as an online gaming tournament aimed at bringing people together. “In terms of the actual concepts regarding sales and marketing, the students really go through the entire gambit,” says Lee. “They learn to develop, source, cost, market, sell and provide customer feedback wherever applicable.” They also raised funds for the Richmond Hospital and Vancouver Covenant House through several initiatives. Student-designed Burnett clothing and tote bags were sold online, as well as a “pandemic kit” including masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. The last fundraising item was glass poster art, which was inspired by an online trend fusing art with music. Customized pieces of glass art capture favourite songs or artists designed to look like a Spotify music player. “All of these projects really focus on experiential, hands-on learning,” says Lee. “Given our limited time with the students in this new 10-week quarter system, the projects were designed to be like a pressure cooker, where basic entrepreneurial and marketing skills would be developed in a very short period of time. It is my personal belief that such an environment challenges students to learn in a very active way, while reinforcing what they’ve learned in class lessons.”Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante can now add "author" to her resume with the publication of a graphic novel in which she recounts her entry into politics and takes subtle digs at the sexism she's encountered along the way.'"Okay, Universe: Chronicles of a Woman in Politics," tells the story of Simone Simoneau — modelled on Plante — a young community organizer who decides to take the plunge into politics by running for a seat on city council.Published in both English and French and co-authored by illustrator Delphie Cote-Lacroix, the book follows the initially hesitant Simoneau as she learns to fundraise, knock on doors and recruit volunteers.Plante, 46, said she began to toy with the idea of publishing a book after she won the mayoralty in 2017. Writing a typical political autobiography didn't appeal, she said."For me the graphic novel format was always what I wanted," she said in a recent interview at her publisher's offices."I think it’s accessible, it can be fun, and I love graphic novels myself."The book is based on Plante's own sketches and anecdotes she began jotting down in 2013, during her first run for a seat on city council. Four years later, she became the first woman elected mayor of Montreal after her surprise defeat of experienced incumbent Denis Coderre.While the writing and drawings were initially a form of self-care to help her "stay balanced," she said she eventually came to see that her story might inspire others, especially young girls."I wanted to show, and maybe tell, people it’s OK not to have all the keys and codes to do something you think would be a good thing to do or you believe in," she said."Just go for it."She began working with Cote-Lacroix on evenings and weekends, taking about two years to finalize the story and illustrations.Plante said that, much like her character in the book, she had been looking for a new challenge before her entry into politics. Then she received a phone call from left-wing municipal party Projet Montreal, which was looking to diversify its slate of candidates.In the book, Plante doesn't shy away from the challenges faced by women who put themselves in the public eye. At one point, one of her character's posters is defaced by sexist graffiti. In another, her character's husband gets effusive praise for helping to care for the couple's children — something the book points out is a given for female political spouses. While the book "won't change sexism," Plante said she hopes it will help highlight the double standards women face.Three years into her mandate, Plante has had a bumpy year, marked by a global pandemic that has devastated the city's economy and criticism over her administration's failure to implement its big visions for affordable housing and transportation. She has also faced anger over what some have described as an anti-car agenda, which includes building bike lanes, eliminating parking spots and temporarily closing some streets to vehicle traffic to create "sanitary corridors." At times, that criticism has escalated to the level of death threats.While some criticism is to be expected, Plante attributes much of the public anger directed her way to the anxiety wrought by the pandemic."Not to minimize their actions of being very aggressive, violent or doing death threats, but I like to hope in the future, when people are less stressed and in a better position, things will calm down," she said.She also faced criticism earlier this year over her novel itself, with some high-profile commentators questioning her decision to "draw cartoons" as the city was embroiled in the COVID-19 crisis.Plante dismissed this as unfounded, especially since she says the writing process wrapped up in late 2019."People were just kind of trashing the book (without) even reading it, which I thought was sad, because it wasn’t about the content, it was about criticizing the author," she said. However, she did push back the book's publication for a few months when the pandemic's second wave began.Plante said she would still recommend politics to young people who want to make a difference, even as she acknowledges it's a "tough" career that comes with unusual levels of public exposure. "But hopefully people see in the book, the love that you get from your volunteers, it's a community, it’s people working together," she said."It’s worth it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
A bail hearing Friday morning for Adam Skelly, a BBQ shop owner facing lots of legal trouble for defying the Toronto health measures COVID-19 lockdown orders currently in effect in Toronto. Mark Carcasole has more
Half of all Saskatchewan hospitals beds, including in the intensive care unit, could soon be filled with COVID-19 patients, according to government data.This and other information was obtained by CBC News following a Saskatchewan Health Authority presentation to doctors Thursday. It contains the darkest projections yet of the virus's spread in the province and its potentially devastating impacts on the health care system.After CBC reported on the presentation Friday, the Government of Saskatchewan released the presentation to media.The presentation includes long-term forecasts, but also warns of a potentially massive swell over the next two weeks. That's well before anyone will know the effect of the most recent government restrictions, a note on one slide reads."These numbers are astounding," University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine said."All of this will put tremendous pressure, relentless pressure, on our health care workers, our doctors and nurses, who are already run ragged right now, really stretched thin. This is unconscionable."According to the SHA data shared at the meeting, which is updated to Nov. 23, case counts and hospitalizations are up 400 per cent in the past month. On the current trajectory, that would mean 200 COVID-19 patients in hospital within the next two weeks, almost double the current number, it stated."[The curve] is going straight up, vertically up. The numbers really need to concern us," Muhajarine said.ICU capacity is already strained, with Saskatoon hospital officials sending several patients to smaller centres this month.Numbers are 'sobering'Under the new models, more than 50 ICU beds could be taken by COVID-19 patients in the next two weeks alone, more than double the current count of 18. The ICU total could eventually increase by as much as 500 per cent and remain at that level for four to six months.Ventilator capacity could also be exceeded by mid-January, and remain that way for up to six months, the presentation read."The updated models differ dramatically from what was presented to the public as an optimistic scenario just last week," said Saskatoon emergency and trauma specialist Dr. Brent Thoma.Regina cardiologist Dr. Andrea Lavoie agreed, calling the numbers "sobering" but not unexpected."They're trying to give the rosiest information [to the public]," she said. "They don't want people to worry. It's hard to hear that. But [doctors] have to talk about the details."She said it will be a challenge to treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients, but Saskatchewan people also need surgeries, treatment and care for a host of other maladies at the same time."If we're busy taking care of COVID patients, other people get pushed to the back of the line. Where do we put the heart attack patients [after surgery]?" she said. Doctors want the government to do morePremier Scott Moe and others announced new restrictions on gathering sizes of all kinds this week. The new measures took effect Friday. Muhajarine, Lavoie, Thoma and others said it's not nearly enough.Muhajarine said it's unbelievable the government is still allowing people to eat and drink alcohol unmasked together for hours at a time in restaurants, pubs, bars, night clubs and other venues. He and others have advocated a short-term shut-down of these "high-risk" venues with better supports for affected businesses and workers.The recent surge was predicted more than two weeks ago in an open letter to Moe and others signed by hundreds of doctors calling for action.Lavoie said physicians want the government to do more, but said there was also a lot of discussion at the meeting about ways everyone can work together. She believes the curve can be flattened with a strict but unified approach from government, businesses, community groups and the public.Previous SHA meetings with doctors are posted on its website, complete with charts and audio recordings, but Thursday's meeting was not posted as of late Friday morning.In an email, an SHA official said they'll be monitoring the situation closely. They said modelling is not an exact science, and the projections should be treated with caution.They said these new numbers are an update and extension of the information released last week.They said they hope to have a new modelling update for the public some time next week.
TORONTO — An angry Premier Doug Ford lashed out on Friday at anti-lockdown protesters outside his home, accusing them of intimidating nearby residents and saying their actions wouldn't sway him.His neighbours, Ford said in offering them a sincere apology for getting caught up in the situation, make no government decisions and never signed up to be targets."Stop acting like a bunch of buffoons out there and start respecting the people of Ontario," Ford said at his daily briefing. "This is totally unacceptable that my neighbours are being intimidated, being threatened, and these people, they need to stop."Protesters opposed to measures aimed at curbing the lethal spread of COVID-19 have gathered outside the premier's west-end Toronto home daily. Their actions, he said, are unacceptable."You want to protest me, come down to Queen's Park," Ford said. "You can do cartwheels, you can jump up and down." Ford took aim at Independent legislator Randy Hillier, who did lead an anti-mask and anti-lockdown rally at the legislature on Thursday. Police ticketed Hiller, whom Ford called irresponsible, for allegedly breaking health rules imposed to curb COVID.Hillier's supporters took to social media to denounce the citation and restrictions as unnecessary. Ford, however, said it's unfathomable that some people believe coronavirus disease to be a hoax when in fact the virus is so serious. "Look at the states to the south of us that want to ignore the regulations — they're blowing up," he said. "They have mobile morgues driving around in Texas collecting bodies. If that's not a wake-up call, I don't know what is."On Friday, Ontario reported a record 1,855 new infections, a 25 per cent surge in a day, and 20 new deaths. The province has now seen 109,361 cases, 3,575 of them fatal.Ford defended the restrictions that have shut down many businesses and limited gatherings as public health authorities urged people to stay home except for essential reasons. The measures, he said, were proven effective earlier this year."The proof is in the pudding: When we did it last time, we were down to almost 100 cases, which is unheard of in a population of 14.77 million people." The protesters outside his house, Ford said, were special interest and political groups. Small business owners on his street and elsewhere in the neighbourhood were among those anti-lockdown protests end up hurting, he added.Ultimately, Ford said, the protesters were violating the very tenets of political discourse. "There's an unwritten rule here in Canada: You don't go after people's families and neighbours," he said. "You want to come at me, come at me, and leave my family and leave my neighbours alone."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Rowley Ramy knows the support offered by Seasons Centre for Grieving Children in Barrie is making a difference in the lives of those who use its resources. “I know it works when I see someone having a fuller life trying to give back,” the centre's managing director said. “It comes full circle.” Since opening 25 years ago, the centre, which provides peer support to children between the ages of five and 24 who are grieving the death of immediate family members, has helped a lot of people. For Ramy, it’s been a deeply personal journey. On Jan. 18, 1995, his daughters Samantha and Jessica were killed in a car accident. Ramy described an outpouring of support and a realization. While there was support for grieving adults, the same could not be said for children. And so, Seasons Centre for Grieving Children was created, and dedicated to his daughters. “Unfortunately, what happens with loss is none of us think about it until it happens, and then we look for the resources,” Ramy said, adding he still feels there could be more resources available. “There should a Seasons Centre in every regional health centre in the country.” As part of the 25th anniversary, the centre unveiled a new stained-glass sign, designed by Norma Vowels, who spent 15 years working as an office manager at the centre. “I’ve seen firsthand the difference they make in children’s lives,” she said, explaining how she would meet children and their families when they would first come to the centre. Speakers at the event talked about the isolating effects of grief, and the difficulty children can have navigating those powerful emotions. “We gave them the tools so that they don’t act out,” she said. “It makes a huge difference in their careers at school and their lives out in the real world.” Seasons Centre for Grieving Children is located at 38 McDonald St. For more information, or to support the centre, visit grievingchildren.com.Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Walt Disney Co. announced plans to lay off 4,000 more workers in its theme parks division in California and Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on the industry.The announcement by the company was made in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing earlier this week, saying 32,000 employees will be terminated in the first half of fiscal year 2021, which began last month. In late September, the company had already announced plans to terminate 28,000 theme park workers.In the SEC document filed on the eve of Thanksgiving Day, the company said it also put 37,000 employees not scheduled for termination on furlough as a result of the pandemic.“Due to the current climate, including COVID-19 impacts, and changing environment in which we are operating, the company has generated efficiencies in its staffing, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force,” the document said.The company also said they may make more cuts in spending such as reducing film and television content investments and additional furloughs and layoffs.In Florida, the company has been limiting attendance at its parks and changing protocols to allow for social distancing by limiting characters' meet and greets.The company has not specified the number of workers that would be affected in its Orlando theme parks.Disney’s parks closed in March as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened in the summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen pending state and local government approvals.The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury were among 114 athletes, artists, scholars and community leaders named to the Order of Canada. Gov. Gen. Julie Payette's office announced the new honourees Friday morning. Others in the group include Indigenous writer Thomas King, winemaker John Peller, dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Langley, geriatrician Roger Wong, Cree elder Doreen Spence, sports academic Dr. Sandra Kirby, wheelchair basketball coach Tim Frick and ex-politicians Bill Graham and Allan Rock. Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018. They're being honoured for their athletic excellence and for inspiring a new generation of figure skaters. "Feeling all wrapped up in emotion ... Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big," Virtue posted on Twitter. "I am humbled by this honour." Tewksbury, who is being named to the top companion rank, won gold in the 100-metre backstroke at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The 52-year-old Calgary native came out publicly as gay in 1998 and has been an advocate of LGBTQ rights as well as a prominent member of Canada's Olympic movement, serving as chef de mission of the 2012 London Olympic team. He is being honoured for athletic excellence and sport leadership, and for championing human rights. Kirby, a rower at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is being honoured for her research on athlete harassment and her advocacy for equity, inclusion and safety in sport. Frick coached Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team to three straight Paralympic gold medals from 1992-2000 and four straight world championship gold medals from 1994-2006. He is being honoured for his expertise in coaching and for his contributions to the advancement of parasports in Canada. The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. The Canadian Press
St. Albert currently has 239 active cases of COVID-19, with another 25 cases being diagnosed overnight. Provincial data released Thursday shows another nine people recovered from the virus, bringing the total up to 430 recoveries. The city has seen 672 people diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic began. In Sturgeon County, there are 93 active cases with 169 recovered. Morinville has 33 active cases with 84 recovered. In the past 24 hours, the province confirmed another 1,082 cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total of active cases up to 14,052. There are currently 383 people in the hospital, including 84 people in intensive care. Ten more people have passed away from the virus, bringing the amount of people who have died so far to 510. Yesterday, there were 15,900 tests done. Around 100,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits will debut in the province in December. The COVID-19 testing capacity will allow for the identification and notification of positive cases in less than 20 minutes, which will speed up care and isolation, reducing the risk of further spread. The tests will be used on patients who are within the first seven days of showing symptoms, allowing health officials to quickly identify positive cases at testing sites, reducing the need for patient samples to be transported to centralized public laboratories for processing. To ensure the validity of the results, two swabs will be collected from each patient, and all negative tests from both systems will be subject to confirmation by the existing lab-based testing method. This is because a negative result is not as reliable as a PCR test and the test may miss some COVID-positive samples. Alberta’s health officials will use these pilots to determine how to streamline processes related to patient management, results notifications and digital record-keeping before the tests are deployed widely across the province. The province is looking at expanding the use of the tests where it can be of the greatest value to the public, such as at homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Deaths from illicit drugs in Prince George edged closer to record-setting proportions last month. The year-to-date total stood at 43 as of the end of October, according to a monthly update from the B.C. Coroners Service issued Wednesday and increase of five from the month before. The city appears on pace to surpass the record 51 deaths recorded in 2018. Four of the deaths last month involved drugs in which fentanyl was detected and raised that year-to-date total to 33. Forty-six such deaths were reported in 2018. Since the start of 2018, there have been 127 drug-related deaths in the city and the rate per 100,000 people stands at 44.8. Only Hope and Vancouver have higher rates. Across B.C., it was the fifth month this year for which more than 160 suspected illicit drug deaths were reported to the BCCS and more than double the number of people who died as a result of illicit drugs in October 2019. "We are continuing to see record-breaking numbers of people dying in B.C. due to an unsafe drug supply in our province, and it's taking a toll on families and communities in this dual health emergency," chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement. "Challenges during COVID-19, such as access to key harm-reduction services and the toxic drug supply, including the extreme concentration of illicit fentanyl, are resulting in continuing significant and tragic loss of life across the province. Our hearts go out to those grieving the loss of family members, friends and colleagues. "We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing safe supply and reducing the numbers of lives lost to toxic substances. We also continue to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based and accountable treatment and recovery system for anyone experiencing problematic substance use who is seeking this medical assistance."Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
L'Association québécoise des centres d'intervention en dépendance (AQCID) et Drogue : aide et référence (DAR) ont dévoilé, le 18 novembre, leur nouvelle plateforme Trouvetoncentre.com. Celle-ci propose une carte interactive et des filtres de recherche qui permettent de trouver aisément les centres de prévention, traitement, réduction des méfaits en dépendance et usage de substance, ainsi que les points de distribution de naloxone. À Laval, un total de neuf centres sont identifiés parmi les ressources disponibles. L'objectif des organismes est que la plateforme devienne un outil incontournable pour le réseau de la santé et des services sociaux, tout comme pour les citoyens. «Il est d’une grande importance pour Trouvetoncentre.com de bien se positionner sur le Web et dans le réseau pour rejoindre les individus qui ont besoin de services en dépendance et usage de substance, précise Vincent Marcoux, directeur général de l’AQCID, par voie de communiqué. En cette période d’insécurité, il est d’autant plus important d’outiller ces personnes fragilisées et stigmatisées, souvent aux prises avec des problématiques de santé mentale.» Par ailleurs, les intervenants de DAR seront les ressources à contacter par téléphone ou clavardage afin de répondre aux questions. Ceux-ci seront disponibles à tous les jours de la semaine.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
MONTREAL — Officials at Montreal's Ecomuseum Zoo are pleading for whoever stole their bird, a raven named Kola who doesn't fly very well and has chronic health issues, to bring him back.The person or people who broke into the rear of the property late Monday or early Tuesday didn't harm or steal any other animal, leaving executive director David Rodrigue stumped as to why they took Kola. A hole was cut into Kola's aviary, either to steal him or to allow him to flee, Rodrigue said, adding that the act could have been a misguided attempt at activism. "I really have a hard time understanding why it could happen — why here?," he said in an interview Friday. "Just bring him back so we can ensure his well-being."Kola, who arrived from a rehab centre four years ago, requires medication and specialized food preparation, doesn't fly well and is unlikely to survive without proper care, Rodrigue said. If Kola was "freed" then he's probably not alive, he added. "This will most likely be a death sentence for Kola."Aside from chronic health issues, he had a broken wing and couldn't be returned to the wild after the rehab stint because it didn't heal properly, Rodrigue said. "In his case, he can't fly well or far and if he was left to go out, he wouldn't make it very long or very far," he said. "He would probably not live very long in someone else's care and that's really what we've been trying to say."Rodrigue said the animals who live at the zoo are all non-releasable, adding that his refuge takes in a lot of animals who are from rehab centres, have disabilities or who were born in captivity.The zoo has been closed since early October due to COVID-19 restrictions.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
When Royal Newfoundland Constabulary investigators zeroed in on a house as they investigated the James Cody homicide this summer, they found more than $434,000 in cash.Soon after, the Mounties launched a money-laundering and proceeds of crime investigation focused on the owner of the house, Kurt Churchill.Those new details are in court documents filed by the federal Crown and RCMP at provincial court in St. John's.Last month, the Mounties asked a judge to give them permission to hold onto the cash and other potential evidence seized through search warrants in July.On Friday morning, that application was granted, with some minor changes.The money laundering investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been laid.Churchill's lawyer, Robby Ash, declined to comment.According to court filings, the RNC asked the RCMP to take over the proceeds of crime investigation related to the seizure of the money.When they searched 40 Craigmillar Ave. as part of the Cody homicide investigation, police found more than 14,000 $20 notes, nearly 2,000 $50 bills, almost 500 $100 notes, and a combined total of about 200 in $5s and $10s.In addition to the cash, police also seized a money counter, vacuum sealer, cling wrap, and 10 boxes of "seal a meal" storage bags."As a result of the search warrants and the seizure of the [proceeds of crime] and RNC items, in particular the currency seized by the RNC, cash receipts and financial documents, [the Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit] commenced the investigation into Churchill and the possible link between his drug trafficking activities and possession of [proceeds of crime] and money laundering," RCMP Cpl. Laura Purchase wrote in an affidavit.The court filings link the "drug trafficking" reference to Operation Battalion, which saw Churchill arrested and charged in 2014 for his alleged role in a high-level cocaine operation.In 2017, Churchill was acquitted of all charges after his lawyer filed an application over unfair trial delays. The Crown called no evidence.Churchill has no criminal record. He was recently found guilty of threatening a police officer last year, but received a conditional discharge.Lawyers for Churchill and the provincial Crown have been fighting in court over whether he should have to provide DNA to a national police databank as part of that sentence.Churchill won the latest round, and won't have to provide DNA while he appeals his guilty verdict in the uttering threats case. This week, the Crown appealed that DNA decision to the province's top court.Cody was found shot to death on the street near Churchill's Craigmillar Avenue home this July.No charges have been laid in relation to the homicide, and the RNC has not publicly named any suspects.Police have not confirmed what, if any, connection Churchill has to the case.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Grocery chain Sobeys has reinstated a program that will see its workers in areas locked down because of COVID-19 get a pay bump.Empire Co., which owns Sobey's, has brought back so-called "hero pay" for its hourly workers in Winnipeg, Toronto and Peel region, which is just west of Toronto. All three regions are currently on some sort of lockdown because of rising COVID-19 cases, and all but essential retail has been brought to a halt.Sobeys workers who get paid by the hour in those regions will get between $10 and $100 extra per week, depending on how many hours they work per week. Although the figure may change as the situation improves or worsens, the company estimates that the initiative will cost it about $5 million.The chain, like others, had a similar program for its workers in the early days of the pandemic as grocery stores were inundated by shoppers panic buying, the initial bonus program was halted in June as supply chains and stores got back to some semblance of normal."Our teammates continue to work tirelessly to keep our stores safe and our communities fed," CEO Michael Medline said in a statement to CBC News."Launching the Lockdown Bonus, in the face of new government mandated lockdowns, was simply the right thing to do. I said that if we ever faced the same level of lockdowns in a region or province like we saw in the early spring, we would bring a recognition program back for our teammates."Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our teammates' efforts to keep stores open, shelves stocked and Canadian families fed have been nothing short of heroic."In its most recent earnings release, rival grocery chain Loblaws stated it has no plans to bring back a similar pay bump despite raising its dividend to shareholders by two cents per share because of strong sales growth."The company remains steadfast in its commitment to put customers and colleagues first, as we sustained investments and safety measures at store level, while resisting pressure to raise prices at a time when Canadians need value more than ever," CEO Galen Weston said at the time.