Ontario's big winter storm has begun with constant flurries
Ontario's big winter storm has begun with constant flurries
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
A retired judge who called for the "massive transformation" of New Brunswick's mental health system 12 years ago, says nothing has been done to fix it. In 2009, Mike McKee published his report, Together into the Future. He received input from more than 2,000 people, including service providers to people with mental illness and their families. The report included 80 recommendations to revamp the mental health system in New Brunswick. Chris Daken with daughter Lexi, when she was about 2 years old. (Submitted by Chris Daken) "It's obvious the system is broken and we need to address it," said McKee. "We have to decide, do we want to rebuild the house or do we just want to paint the living room?" McKee's report aimed to make mental health a government priority for everyone and that it would be treated like any other illness "rather than continuing to be a poor second cousin." 'People want us to do more' McKee, who's also a former cabinet minister in Frank McKenna's Liberal government, said he was disappointed to learn about the death of Lexi Daken last week. The Grade 10 student who had previously attempted suicide, was taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital on Feb. 18, by a school guidance counsellor who was concerned about her mental health. She waited for eight hours without receiving any mental health intervention. Lexi took her own life less than a week later. Lexi Daken, centre, with friends Darian Crouse, left, and Karly Crouse.(Submitted by Chris Daken) "I don't remember really the last time my heart was troubled like this over someone that I didn't even know," said the mental health advocate. "It's sad and it doesn't have to happen." In order to fix the broken system, McKee said the province needs to stop reacting to situations like Lexi's and instead work with people living with mental health issues, Indigenous communities, the homeless and those living in rural areas. "People want us to do more than just tinker with the status quo." If the 80 recommendations in his report had been implemented, McKee said the province would have already addressed the mental health needs of New Brunswickers. But it didn't. McKee's report said children and youth should have access to in-province assessment, government departments should work collaboratively within a coordinated system and the province should also have a full range of effective services are available in community and correctional facilities. "I'm not happy with the outcome or reaction." Public inquiry won't happen On Wednesday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told reporters the province will not call for a public inquiry into Lexi's suicide but will ask the child and youth advocate to review mental health services in New Brunswick. McKee said he doesn't want to put his focus on whether their should be a public inquiry, but the report itself and how to prevent situations like this from happening again — such as more qualified psychologists inside New Brunswick schools. "We have far too many people who don't have the support, who don't have the treatment to avoid those situations occurring in the first place." It's still not clear whether the public will ever know what happened during Lexi's eight-hour wait at the ER, or why she was allowed to leave without having received help. McKee said it's possible they'll never know. "People aren't going to put up with this," he said. "Enough is enough."
SAN FRANCISCO — Financial technology company Square, Inc. said Thursday that it has reached an agreement to acquire majority ownership of Tidal, the music streaming service partly owned by Jay-Z. Under the deal, Square will pay $297 million in cash and stock for Tidal, Jay-Z will be named to Square's board of directors, and he and other artists who currently own shares in Tidal will remain stakeholders. Tidal will operate as a distinct entity alongside the point-of-sale hardware and software offerings of San Francisco-based Square, the payments company founded by CEO Jack Dorsey, who is also co-founder and chief executive of Twitter. Tidal has presented itself as the artist-friendly alternative to other music streamers, and Square says it will take that phenomenon further for musicians just as it has for businesses with its financial systems. “It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” Dorsey said in the statement announcing the deal. . Jay-Z said in the statement that the “partnership will be a game-changer for many.” I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!" The Associated Press
LATCHFORD – Latchford Mayor George Lefebvre has let his frustration be known when it comes to the current situation surrounding insurance for municipalities. Municipal insurance rates have been on the rise and the matter has been a growing concern across the province. One specific area that Lefebvre says he has an issue with is the fact that the legal system allows municipalities to be sued for accidents that occur on major highways, which he feels shouldn’t have any bearing on the municipalities. Lefebvre says those frivolous lawsuits alone are enough to help drive up the rates when the insurance companies are forced to defend the municipalities. A highway accident is “something that has absolutely no bearing (on us) whatsoever,” he said at Latchford council’s regular meeting on February 18. “We all know, we’ve seen a number of these accidents recently. Two of them have occurred in Temagami on Highway 11 and they’re suing the Town of Latchford. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Some people on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), crossing the railroad track and caught trespassing on the pipeline and trespassing on the tracks, flipped the ATV and sued the Town of Latchford. Now where the hell is the justice in that?” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the province’s Attorney General have been looking into the matter of rising municipal insurance costs for the past couple of years, but actions were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One municipality reported seeing their premium increase from $120,000 to $225,000. Englehart was among the lowest, seeing their insurance rate go up eight to nine per cent this year while the Municipality of Charlton and Dack saw an increase of 36 per cent. Latchford clerk-treasurer Jaime Allen told The Speaker in an email message that the town’s rate increased by 13.5 per cent. “We had to change our provider several years ago to attempt to control the increases, so (we) fully appreciate and support the effort by the other municipalities,” said Lefebvre later in an email interview. Back at their regular meeting on January 21, Latchford council passed a resolution to support Charlton-Dack’s resolution that stands up against rising municipal insurance rates. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
Saskatchewan NDP MLA Vicki Mowat took to Twitter on Monday to raise awareness about the kinds of calls women in politics get. She said she recently received a call telling her to shut up and go back to teaching. While it's not uncommon for politicians to get angry calls from constituents, Mowat said the message had "a condescending tone." "He perceived me as attacking what he called a 'grown man' and he said 'grown man' a couple of times," she told CBC's Saskatoon Morning. "So it really felt like a message that a male politician would not have received." Mowat is the MLA for Saskatoon Fairview and the NDP's health critic. She said it's not her first encounter of this kind. She said she has "grown a thick skin." She's worked in male-dominated fields before, she said, most notably in the military. Mowat is a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces. Mowat said speaking about this type of treatment is "a good way to raise awareness that it's still happening." She said she gets asked questions that her male colleagues do not, such as how old she is and what her marital status is. "There really is still this perception about women in politics that we need to be actively fighting against," Mowat said. Researcher says women's qualifications often questioned Erin Pilipow is a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan who is examining how members of Trudeau's cabinet — made up of half men and half women — are treated. Pillipow said she was inspired to choose this topic for her thesis when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his gender-balanced cabinet in 2015. "I was super excited for such a strong stance on diverse representation by the prime minister of Canada," she told CBC's Saskatoon Morning. "But then in my classes ... I was really frustrated by the focus on the idea that these women who were being appointed were automatically lacking merit." Pillipow said her research found that society has a "very narrow" idea about what experiences are valid for going into politics. "You basically have to be a lawyer or a businessperson or a previous politician to not have your qualifications questioned," she said. "Those are all experiences that men are more likely to have." Pillipow said caregiving and being a parent are not considered good experiences, and in fact can be a detriment to a woman's career in politics. "They're explicitly talked about in a negative way, like it's going to take away from your ability to represent the country or your constituencies."
County council agreed to support a movement for improvements at long-term care (LTC) homes, though disagreed with local advocates’ desire to end for-profit homes. Council voted to write a letter of support for the Haliburton-CKL (City of Kawartha Lakes) Long-Term Care Coalition. The advocacy group is joining with others across the province to push for improvements, including amending the Canada Health Act to include LTC, guaranteeing four hours of direct care per day for residents, stronger enforcement and a culture change. Councillors spoke in favour of those ideas. But the coalition’s desire to end private LTC did not garner support and was specifically excluded in the resolution. “The first four points that you have, I think, are a bold initiative and a great start,” Coun. Brent Devolin said. “The supply going forward, will public initiatives alone be enough to look after all of us?” Coalition co-chair, Bonnie Roe, cited the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide organization also calling for the end to for-profit long-term care. Its May 2020 analysis found COVID-19 deaths in homes with outbreaks were higher in private (nine per cent) versus non-profit (5.25 per cent) or publicly-owned (3.62 per cent). The Canadian military also released a report about terrible conditions at homes it intervened in last May, which prompted the province to start an independent commission. Four of those homes were privately-owned. “There are some for-profits that are excellent, but generally speaking, they do not follow the standards,” Roe said. “People are asking, ‘why are there private profits attached to us as a society caring for our elders’?” co-chair, Mike Perry, said. “Why was that ever seen as a profit-making venture?” Warden Liz Danielsen said the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus has identified LTC as a priority. But she added the caucus is not yet in favour of ending private facilities. Coun. Carol Moffatt said she can attest to the challenges of eldercare and there is a drastic need for better support for health workers. “More people to do the job,” Moffatt said. “We also maybe need to be careful of what you wish for in terms of potential downloading. How do we all as a province push for the changes that are required, without it going off the cliff and then landing in the laps of municipalities for increased costs?” Perry thanked council for the support. “There’s so much common room and so much common ground for this moving forward,” he said. “That’s where we find hope in all this tragedy recently." Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
A mechanical whir fills the room as a sling slowly lifts a patient out of her hospital bed. "Wow, it's fun to see you like that," says nurse Caroline Brochu, as the woman is lowered into a chair. After spending nearly two weeks on a ventilator, severely sick with COVID-19, the patient had been extubated a few days earlier. She's slowly being weaned off the oxygen and has regained enough strength to start physiotherapy. In her early 70s, the woman was admitted to the intensive care unit at Cité-de-la-Santé hospital in Laval in early February. Like many of the patients the hospital has treated, she was generally healthy before she contracted the virus. "No comorbidities," said Dr. Joseph Dahine, an intensive care specialist. "Just high blood pressure and a little bit of asthma." Psychologists regularly check in with the ICU staff to see how they are coping with the exhaustion and emotional strain of COVID-19.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) The unknown road ahead In mid-February, CBC Montreal was granted exclusive access to the hospital's intensive care unit. A year into the pandemic, it's still difficult to predict who will only need a few days of oxygen to bounce back and who will be on a ventilator for weeks. But what is clear is the virus spares no one. The ICU has treated severely ill patients as young as 24. Back in January, about two-thirds of the patients were under 60. At the time of CBC's visit, there were five patients. Over the past 11 months, the ICU has treated a total of 175 patients. Twenty-five have died. During that time, the ICU has worked in uncharted territory, with personnel at times risking their own health to ensure those suffering the most severe COVID-19 complications get care. WATCH | Staff inside the ICU talk about the cases that still haunt them and the unknown road ahead: "Trying to keep the morale has been the hardest aspect of all of this," said Joanie Bolduc-Dionne, the ICU's head nurse. "Right now, we have some fantastic psychologists that come day, evening, night to support the team." The psychologists visit to get a sense of how staff are coping, and what they might be struggling with, she said. Family has to stay at a distance Life inside the ICU can be an emotional roller-coaster — for the staff, the patients and their families. The daughter of the woman who was recently extubated has arrived for a visit but she has to stay outside the room because her mother could still be contagious. The distance is painful for both of them. Exhausted from the effort of sitting and eating, the woman is back in her bed. Her eyes fill with tears as she looks at her daughter through the glass door. "It's harder to see her now, like this," said the daughter, turning to a nurse. "When she was intubated that was bad, but at least she didn't realize she was in that situation. Now, she knows what's going on. Dr. Joseph Dahine, pictured at right, consults with the ICU team at Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital in Laval. Treating COVID-19 patients requires constant re-calibration to pinpoint what may be causing a patient's deterioration.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) Startling deterioration Following CBC's visit, the woman had an unexpected setback overnight. During her sleep, her heart started to race. The ICU team managed to bring her heart rate back down, but the doctor on shift is concerned about her breathing, which is rapid and shallow. "If we can't give you enough oxygen and you are tired with the mask, and if we don't intubate you, well, it's death," Dr. Dahine tells the woman. With a resigned nod, she agrees to be re-intubated as a last resort. As she continues to deteriorate over the next few days, doctors have no choice but to put her back on a ventilator. It's a sobering reminder of just how unpredictable this virus can still be. At the beginning of March, the patient was brought out of the induced coma, but still needs a ventilator to breathe. She had to undergo a tracheotomy. She can only communicate with her family and the staff by blinking. "She still has a long way to go to recovery but at least she is no longer in a coma," said Bolduc-Dionne. At the height of the first wave, Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital had 22 COVID-19 patients in the ICU. The week CBC visited, there were five. Although the number of cases appears to be stabilizing, health officials are worried variants of the coronavirus could trigger a third wave.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) Although the number of COVID-19 cases may appear stable, the volume of cases linked to variants of the coronavirus is rising rapidly. 'The fight is not over' On Tuesday, Quebec's health minister continued to warn people to remain vigilant over the March break. This week, Laval's ICU accepted two new patients to the red zone, which is strictly for those who are severely ill with COVID-19. "The fight is not over," said Bolduc-Dionne. As the vaccination effort in Quebec gathers steam, staff here hope people don't forget there's a parallel battle being fought in the ICU, a battle the public doesn't see. "I hope they realize that [the virus] is really dangerous and that you can infect people you love," said nurse Caroline Brochu.
The Haliburton Highlands is being spotlighted on international streaming services through the docuseries “For Heaven’s Sake,” launching March 4. The series chronicles an adventure for filmmakers, Jackson Rowe and Mike Mildon, who unravel the mysterious disappearance of Mildon’s great, great-uncle Harold Heaven in Minden in 1934. The eight-episode series - filmed predominantly in the township in 2019 and 2020 - will launch in its entirety on CBC Gem and Paramount+. “It feels very, very strange, but good,” Mildon said about releasing the series. “It’s been a long journey that’s come to the end. We’re so excited to show Minden and the rest of the world the journey we went on.” The series tracks the two as they travel around the community, speaking with people to investigate the family mystery. Heaven’s body was never recovered after he disappeared from his Horseshoe Lake cabin; it was ruled a suicide by authorities at the time, but the filmmakers pursue alternate theories, including murder. Although they had considered a movie, Mildon said the amount of content they got made it better for a series. “We felt the different leads we got, we could explore one per episode,” Rowe said. Those who followed along with the production locally might have an idea of how the series will unfold. But the duo said the series has many aspects people likely missed, including the ups and downs of being detectives and the moral challenges they faced. “We just wanted to make sure any moral wrongdoing fell on the shoulders of Mike and myself,” Rowe said. “It was hard to find a proper perspective where we gave respect to all the faces along the way. It’s all in there. It’s something we didn’t want to shy away from – warts and all.” The pair – who previously did short-form skit comedy – said what comes next for them is up in the air. For now, they are focused on promoting the series. Mildon said the series will have lots to see for locals. The two expressed their appreciation for the area. “Minden was such an important character in the story. The community and the town were so wonderful to us,” Mildon said. “Just seeing familiar faces and seeing how this town came together to help these unlikely detectives try to solve this way-too-old of a case. It’s a very, very heartwarming, interesting story.” “It’s exciting,” Rowe said. “It’s hard to do something unique nowadays and I feel we actually have, so we’re proud of that.” The series premiers March 4 on Paramount+ and CBC Gem. CBC Gem is available for free online at cbcgem.ca, as an app for iOS and Android devices, or on a television via Apple TV and Google Chromecast. Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
A local resident’s request for a street light to be installed in front of his house has been denied. Oshawa city staff met with resident Don Smith following direction by council at its Sept. 28, 2020 meeting to review the installation of a street light at 2770 Wilson Rd. N. Due to the pandemic, the meetings took place over the phone. In a previous letter to the city, Smith requested the light be installed on an existing pole at the south driveway entrance of his property due to damage and safety concerns. “Being the last residential property on the road, the multiple incidents of garbage dumping, vandalism, and use of my property from a night time parking spot, my request is reasonable,” he writes. Smith also noted he would come home at night on several occasions to find a car in the dark in his driveway. “At best I think people could be having medical issues and need to get off the road, but the toilet paper, tissues and used sanitary napkins they leave for me to pick up and dispose of suggests to me something different,” he says. Councillor Rosemary McConkey says not having a street light in this area is a major concern. “This is a concern to anyone that lives in a situation like the current owner of this property,” she says. “We can accommodate this resident and the last thing we want to hear is about parties happening, which is a major problem.” Councillor John Neal agreed with McConkey, noting it’s a safety issue. “Safe and reliable infrastructure should be across the whole city, not just selected areas,” he says. However, Councillor John Gray, who sits on the community services committee, says the committee gave this issue a great deal of consideration. “It’s the fact that it’s going to cost $20,000 to put up a street light,” he says, noting the advantage of living in a rural area is the dark. “My impression of a rural area is that you have the advantage of a night sky. Here in the city it’s harder to see a night sky,” he continues, adding the cost for the project is quite expensive and doesn’t compare to the other advantages. According to a city report, street lighting in the area along Wilson Road North is limited due to the current Oshawa Power & Utilities Corp. (OPUC) hydro infrastructure, noting “street lights require a secondary conductor for power, and the majority of the poles on Wilson Road North do not currently have this secondary power supply.” The report states there is a hydro pole with a street light located across the street at 2765 Wilson Road North, which was installed in 2017 at the request of a local resident. According to staff, this was the only hydro pole along Wilson Road North that had access to secondary power for a new streetlight. Staff say there are three hydro poles located north of 2765 Wilson Road North, including one hydro pole at Smith’s property, however none of these poles have a secondary supply required for street lighting. According to a quote from OPUC, it is possible for a secondary cable line to be installed at the city’s expense of $12,000. Furthermore, due to the fact OPUC deemed the pole at the end of Smith’s driveway unsafe due to the existing high voltage line connection on the pole that extends down the pole to provide underground service to this property and existing wiring, a new pole would need to be installed as well. Therefore, the total cost of the project to install a new hydro pole and street light, as well as two more lights on the other two existing poles, would cost the city $20,000. Due to the area of the city in which the resident lives and the high cost of the project, council approved staff’s recommendation to deny Smith’s request for a street light. Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
OTTAWA — The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 10:50 a.m. Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19. Health officials say all three cases were identified in the health region that includes Halifax. Two cases involve contacts of previously reported infections while the third is under investigation. Nova Scotia has 29 active reported cases of COVID-19. --- 10:40 a.m. Ontario is reporting 994 new cases of COVID-19. Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 298 of those new cases are in Toronto, 171 are in Peel and 64 are in York Region. There were 10 more deaths in Ontario since the last daily update and more than 30,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine administered. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Peace River Regional District will be going ahead with plans for a new public library in Chetwynd, after board directors voted in favour of issuing requests for proposals for design and construction at their Feb. 25 meeting. The new library is a joint effort between Area E and Chetwynd. A lean-to style building is being floated as one possible option. Costs are capped at $5 million. “This has been going on for awhile, we’re trying to get costs down to something we can afford,” said Director Dan Rose. “We’ve got floor plans and ideas of what it might look like, so they’re not starting from scratch.” He added the library has extensive experience working remotely as a satellite office. "We’re certainly willing to accommodate as many communities as we can, with our services. I’m sure we could make agreements with everybody on how to do that,” said Rose. Fort St John Mayor Ackerman agreed a regional approach could be a good move for libraries in the Peace. “I’m totally open to having that conversation, even though the library in Fort St John is not a municipal library,” said Ackerman. “If you’re suggesting a regional library, I’m on that bandwagon.” Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead says the city will lend a hand if Chetwynd needs. “I appreciate how busy it is in Chetwynd right now. If they have any trouble at all in locating a site or land for this Chetwynd Public Library, we’d be happy to help facilitate that partnership with them, and construct it in Dawson Creek,” said Bumstead, jokingly. firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
One person is dead after an early morning crash near Tisdale, Sask. Tisdale RCMP say a northbound SUV collided with a westbound truck coming off a grid road that crosses highway 35 about four kilometres north of Tisdale at around 6:30 a.m. CST on Thursday. Tisdale is about 195 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. A 65-year-old man was declared dead at the scene and a woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The highway was closed Thursday morning, with traffic being diverted around the area for the rest of the day while officers conduct an investigation.
NEW YORK — Even in a crazy year with so many ups and downs, consider the last 12 months of Aaron Tveit. The Broadway star was wowing fans in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” when it was suddenly shuttered by the coronavirus. Then he contracted COVID-19 himself. He recovered to lend his voice to relief efforts, got a few high-profile acting gigs and then landed his first Tony nomination. “It’s hard to have perspective,” he said. “I just think that’s going to need a little bit of time and a little bit of a 25,000-foot view to see what actually happened in the last year.” Two back-to-back blows came within weeks last March when his show was shuttered and then Tveit became one of the first Broadway actors to speak publicly about contracting COVID-19. "I wanted to kind of say, ‘Look, I’m somebody that really takes care of my health and I’d like to think I’m in good shape.’ I was basically trying to say, ‘This can affect anyone. Please take this seriously,’” he said. Tveit, 37, says he now suspects he was sicker than he thought at the time. For several weeks, he slept 13 hours a day but thankfully, his lungs weren't affected. “It was like a terrible, terrible sinus infection.” A few weeks later, he had a flare-up. “In terms of lasting effects, I think I’ve been OK,” he said. “I know a lot of people that really, really suffered. So I consider myself very lucky that I got by with as mild a case as I did.” Tveit summoned the strength to lend his support for out-of-work actors — joining stars like Sutton Foster and Jeremy Jordan for a benefit concert hosted by Rosie O’Donnell and later singing “Marry Me a Little” for a Stephen Sondheim birthday celebration. “It felt so meaningful to me to be included but also the message behind it: We can still be a community, we can still learn how to come together even under these circumstances," he said. With “Moulin Rouge!” grounded, Tveit found work elsewhere. Over the summer, he shot a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie with Laura Osnes and flew to Vancouver to work on the Apple TV+ series “Schmigadoon!” “Gratitude doesn’t even describe how I feel,” he said of the employment. “I think about it every day because I know so many people who have not been able to work at all. The question of paying rent, of being able to support families and pay bills — it’s it’s truly devastating.” Tveit's first big gig was in a “Rent” tour and he made his Broadway debut as a replacement in “Hairspray” and then “Wicked.” He then had three starring roles in “Next to Normal,” “Catch Me If You Can” and now “Moulin Rouge!” His film work includes the adaptation of "Les Misérables" and on TV he was in “Graceland,” “BrainDead” and “Grease Live!” A bright spot in a dark year was when “Moulin Rouge!” earned more than a dozen Tony nominations, which the company celebrated with a Zoom toast. “I’d like to think that our show would have done as well in any year. So I’m very proud of the work that we’ve done,” he said. Tveit was the only actor nominated in the category of best leading actor in a musical for his role as Christian and it marks his first nomination. Unopposed, he’s poised to win, as long as 60% of Tony voters vote for him in the category. “It’s the most wild thing that it just worked out that way. But I’m just so grateful and I take it as nothing but as a recognition of the hard work that I put into the show,” he said. Producer Carmen Pavlovic calls Tveit a unique musical theatre actor whose vocal talent “just blows you away,” spanning ballads and all-out rock numbers. "I’m thrilled he’s received his first Tony nomination for his performance, which reflects not only his work on ‘Moulin Rouge!’ but also Aaron’s vast body of work that brings his career journey to this special moment,“ she said. Tveit sees something of a silver lining in the Broadway shutdown: Long unaddressed social issues are being examined, top among them racial representation on both sides of the curtain. While urging donations to the national services group The Actor's Fund, he also champions Black Lives Matter groups, anti-racism organizations, bail relief and transgender resources. “I’ve done a lot of listening,” he said. “I've tried to just shut my mouth and listen to everything around me and what people need and what people feel and then look at how personally I may or may not be helping.” When Broadway restarts, he hopes the hard work can continue of ensuring all people have equal access to theatre work, not just friends or those recommended. “I think that if that means for a while making a concentrated effort to look beyond the norm, then maybe five or 10 years from now hopefully we'll be in a much better place,” he said. ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
FORT FRANCES — A 52-year-old resident from Manitoba is facing charges of impaired driving following a traffic stop in Fort Frances last month. Rainy River District OPP were alerted to a possible impaired driver on Feb. 13, shortly before 5 a.m., according to a news release issued on March 1. Police were able to locate a man driving a motor vehicle on King’s Highway in Fort Frances where a traffic stop was conducted. The man was arrested for impaired operation based on the officer’s observation and obvious indicators of impairment. Further testing conducted on the driver confirmed he was impaired, the release said. A 52-year-old man from Winnipeg, Manitoba was criminally charged with operating a conveyance while impaired by alcohol or drugs and operating a conveyance with a blood concentration of 80 or more. The driver’s licence was suspended for 90 days and his vehicle was impounded for seven days. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
MADRID — Artists at one of Madrid’s best-known flamenco bars put on a final outdoor show Thursday, marking its closure after 140 years because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that have shuttered entertainment venues. A female flamenco dancer dressed in black performed in the street outside Villa-Rosa, while others threw flamenco costumes from balconies into the street and male singer Juañarito performed a flamenco song. Others laid flowers at the venue’s entrance, lit candles and put up handwritten signs saying “R.I.P.” The Villa-Rosa, with its distinctive tiled facade, is a landmark of the Madrid neighbourhood called Las Letras, known for its nightlife. “The situation is now unsustainable, with so many overheads for a year with the bar closed without any (financial) assistance," the flamenco show’s director, Rebeca Garcia, said. "It has forced us to take the drastic decision to shut down.” The Associated Press
Ottawa has come up with a simpler way to claim expenses for that spare room or corner that became a makeshift office last spring when pandemic lockdowns went into effect across the country. In addition to the detailed method for claiming home office costs, the federal government announced a new temporary flat rate method last year with the specific aim of making taxes a little easier in these trying times. Experts say the new flat rate method is quick and easy, but using the detailed method may yield a better outcome, depending on your circumstances and it is worth checking out both ways to make sure you're getting the best deal. Edward Rajaratnam, executive director at EY Canada, said the detailed method may be better for renters than homeowners because of their ability to claim a portion of their rent, which could increase the size of their deduction beyond the $400 cap placed on the flat rate option. However, he said, the temporary flat rate method is simpler as the name would imply. "The beauty of this is it is a flat rate, it is $2 a day up to a maximum of $400 and the second beauty of that is that you actually do not need to maintain receipts," he said. "Everybody who has been working from home, they have been busy with work, so just imagine them trying to find receipts." You don't get to count days off, vacation days, sick leave days or other leaves of absence, so you might not reach the 200 days needed to max out the flat rate claim of $400. However, they don't have to be full days of work to qualify. Even if you only worked part of the day, you can claim the $2 for that day. While the flat rate method is easy, Gerry Vittoratos, national tax specialist at UFile, says you still should ask your employer to complete the Canada Revenue Agency form that allows you to use the detailed method if it turns out to yield you a better return. "You might get more if you go with the detailed method, don't prevent yourself from claiming that," Vittoratos said, noting that CRA has simplified the forms this year to make it easier for companies to provide them for employees. "Do the comparison between the two and see which one is better for you. It might turn out the detailed method is a lot better." To qualify under both methods you need to have worked more than 50 per cent of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020. Unlike the flat rate method, The detailed method requires a thorough accounting of actual expenses which need to be supported by receipts. But, unlike the flat rate method your total deduction is not capped at $400, so you could end up saving more. Eligible expenses include things like office supplies but also a share of expenses such as utilities, home internet access fees, maintenance and minor repairs. Renters can claim a potion of their rent, but homeowners cannot claim mortgage payments. You cannot claim expenses for which you were reimbursed by your employer. If you're using the detailed method and looking to claim some of your utilities or rent, you'll need to figure out how much of your home was used for work. If you had a spare room that became your designated office, the proportion that you can claim is the same as the proportion that space takes up in your house. So if your spare bedroom turned office makes up 10 per cent of the square footage of your home, then you get to claim 10 per cent of expenses like utilities for the time you spend working at home. But the calculation becomes more complicated if you were using your kitchen table or dining room, spaces that also served another purpose in your home in addition to a workspace as you can only claim for the time the space was used for work. Vittoratos says if you're considering using the detailed method it is important to know how big your home is and what proportion was used for work, as your accountant will need it to figure out what is best for you. "Have all the information in front of you. Make sure that everything is in order so you get the maximum return possible," he said. Rajaratnam noted that the flat rate deduction is per individual. So if you live with someone and you both worked from home you could both make a flat rate claim. "If you and your spouse are both working from home ... both of you can claim $400 each and you do not need to show expenses, as long as you have been working from home," he said. However, he says, everybody needs to consider their own circumstances to figure out what is best for their tax return. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Craig Wong, The Canadian Press
There are now seven more cases at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). The cases are still contained to the same unit where the initial 14 were identified over the weekend, said Richard Dionne, president of the CNCC Local 369. The corrections officer said he could not share the total number of inmates in that wing, but noted that the area remains isolated. "I don't know the full count and I can't give it to you anyway for security reasons," said Dionne, speaking to MidlandToday. He said he was thankful that no staff cases have been identified at this time. "Hopefully, it stays that way," said Dionne. "The health unit came in the other day to offer voluntary staff testing. I don't know how many staff got tested, but none of those that did, to my knowledge, have come back positive." He said the same safety protocols are being followed with staff wearing increased PPE when interacting with inmates and those incarcerated being provided with masks if needed. "There haven't been any additional measures put into place right now," said Dionne. As for the virus possibly spreading in the air, he said, every unit functions independently in terms of ventilation. "I'm very hopeful we can contain it to the one unit and not have it spread to the entire institution," Dionne said, adding the stress level among staff remains high. "The workload has increased just based on the way that the operation changes because we're limiting day-room use and following protocol around higher use of PPE. And it's also the same for inmates, he added. "They just get more and more frustrated being locked down," Dionne said. "Increased cell time is never good for anyone. That's been put out there by a number of professionals that time locked in the cell by yourself or with one other person isn't beneficial." A request for comment from the province was not received by publication time. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will review a decision to order a new trial for an Alberta man convicted of murder. Russell Steven Tessier was charged with first-degree murder in 2015, eight years after Allan Gerald Berdahl's body was found in a ditch near Carstairs. Berdahl died from gunshot wounds to the head, and there were tire tracks, footprints and two cigarette butts near the scene. Tessier was convicted in 2018 but Alberta's Court of Appeal later ordered a new trial. The appeal court said the trial judge made legal errors concerning the voluntariness of statements Tessier made to police. As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for agreeing to hear the case. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press