Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
OTTAWA — A new report says Toronto's rental apartment vacancy rate hit a record high in the fourth quarter of last year.Urbanation says its survey of newer purpose-built rental apartment projects that have been completed in Toronto since 2005 reported a vacancy rate of 5.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 1.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019. It says the rate is a 50-year high when looking at CMHC survey data for Toronto back to 1971.Urbanation says vacancy rates in the 905 region of the Greater Toronto Area rose to 2.0 per cent for the quarter compared with 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019.The overall vacancy rate for the Greater Toronto Area was 4.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from 1.0 per cent a year earlier.Average rents for purpose-built units that became available for rent in Toronto during the quarter fell 10.0 per cent on a year-over-year basis. The annual decline in average rents in the 905 region was 2.2 per cent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Anne-Marie Tremblay, de Chicoutimi, a trouvé sa passion. Indécise sur ce qu’elle voulait faire dans la vie, la jeune femme de 20 ans a profité de son plus récent temps libre pour se lancer dans la confection de produits pour le corps maison et véganes, ce qu’elle adore. Elle est plus motivée que jamais à faire découvrir son entreprise Banana Blue Cosmetics au plus grand nombre. Comme bien des jeunes de son âge, Anne-Marie a essayé quelques emplois. Rapidement, elle s’est mise à rêver d’être sa propre patronne. Elle avait choisi d’étudier dans le domaine de l’esthétique, au privé, et avait commencé à faire des poses de cils avant que la pandémie ne débarque et que toutes ses activités ne soient complètement arrêtées. Ce temps libre a motivé la jeune femme à mettre sur pied son propre projet. « J’avais le temps. J’ai commencé par faire des produits en tissu, mais je me suis rapidement rendu compte que ça ne faisait pas. J’avais déjà fait des bombes de bain, donc je suis retombée là dedans. J’ai fait un nouveau produit et je suis vraiment tombé en amour avec ce domaine », explique Anne-Marie Tremblay, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Quotidien. Elle compare la création de produits pour le corps à la cuisine, alors qu’elle doit apprendre à créer et à tester de nouvelles recettes, ce qu’elle a toujours aimé faire. Depuis la fin du mois d’octobre, on retrouve donc les produits de Blue Banana Cosmetics, qui sont véganes et naturels, en vente sur son site Internet. On compte dans l’inventaire des beurres corporels, des exfoliants à lèvres et des exfoliants pour le corps fouettés, c’est-à-dire qu’ils ont une texture plus légère et aérée. Elle a également des coffrets «découverte» disponibles pour les personnes qui souhaiteraient essayer différents produits. Pour trouver son inspiration, la jeune femme pense à ce qu’elle aimerait avoir. « Je n’avais jamais fait moi-même mes produits pour le corps, comme certains. J’ai juste essayé comme ça et j’ai vu que ça fonctionnait bien. Je suis contente de pouvoir en faire profiter aux autres », révèle-t-elle. Contre toute attente, Anne-Marie s’est rapidement créé une clientèle. « J’ai vraiment été chanceuse, parce que la boutique Atelier apothicaire m’a approché très vite, donc j’ai eu rapidement un point de vente. C’est sûr que ç’a m’a beaucoup aidé et que ça m’a donné beaucoup de visibilité au Saguenay » se réjouit-elle. Elle avait également déjà des clients pour ses produits de couture sur une autre page qui ont suivi ce nouveau projet avec attention. Elle a également connu d’autres jeunes entrepreneurs de la région via les réseaux sociaux, avec qui elle tisse des liens. Ces jeunes s’entraident beaucoup. Pour la suite Quand Anne-Marie pense à l’avenir, elle aimerait bien sûr continuer de diversifier ses produits et lancer même un jour une gamme de produits pour hommes. Elle veut aussi pour la prochaine année se concentrer à l’amélioration de son site Internet. Elle espère, à long terme, se faire davantage connaître au Québec et même ailleurs. La jeune entrepreneure invite les gens à visiter son site Internet pour découvrir tous ses produits. Elle alimente également une page Instagram où ses abonnés peuvent voir en primeur les nouveautés de son commerce. Certains de ses soins sont également disponibles à l’Atelier Apothicaire ainsi que sur le site Internet de cette boutique. Il y aura bientôt du nouveau alors que la jeune femme parle du lancement d’un nouveau produit, mais qu’elle ne veut pas encore dévoiler. Elle compte l’annoncer prochainement.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
LOS ANGELES — Phil Spector was viewed as a man with two distinct personas: The late music producer was regarded as a rock ‘n’ roll genius who elevated the genre with his “Wall of Sound” style in the 1960s and created hits for several big names from the Beatles to Tina Turner. But while Spector made his mark as a revolutionary music producer, the stories of him waving guns at recording artists and being convicted of murder overshadowed his artistry. California state prison officials said Spector died Saturday at age 81 of natural causes at a hospital. He was convicted of killing actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life. The reaction to Spector’s death resurrected some mixed feelings about his life and legacy. Some lauded his early contributions to rock music, while others struggled to forgive his volatile past. Beach Boys musician Al Jardine said it would be “nice to remember him only for his songs & production talents.” He said The Ronettes’ song “Be My Baby,” which was produced and co-written by Spector, inspired his brother Brian Wilson. Stevie Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band called Spector a “genius irredeemably conflicted.” “He was the ultimate example of the art always being better than the artist,” said Zandt on Twitter. He added that Spector “made some of the greatest records in history based on the salvation of love while remaining incapable of giving or receiving love his whole life.” Meanwhile, “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey took aim at Spector, calling him a “murderer and an abusive maniac.” “I wish he would’ve gotten the mental health help he so clearly needed, but he didn’t,” the comedian said on social media. “And so instead of (asterisk)just(asterisk) pulling guns on people in anger or for fun, he murdered one of them. Good ear for music tho, I’ll give you that.” Spector’s former wife, Ronnie Spector, remembered him on Sunday as a “brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.” She was the lead singer of the Ronettes. “Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio,” she wrote on Instagram. “Darkness set in, many lives were damaged. I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever.” But Darlene Love, who sang some of Spector’s hits from “He’s a Rebel” and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” took a different approach despite her problematic relationship with the producer. She felt sadness after hearing of Spector’s death from her son. “It was sad because of what Spector did, the wonderful music he created, and he spent nearly 20 years of his life in prison,” said Love, who admitted that Spector tried to “control my talent” during her singing career. She said Spector had a dangerous temperament at times, but she tried to remember the positive. “I hope people don’t only remember the reason he spent those years in prison, but more or less what he did for rock ‘n’ roll,” she continued. “He changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what brought me to sadness.” Spector was hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” in the 1960s that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.” Bruce Springsteen and Wilson openly replicated his grandiose recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.” But the multiple stories of Spector waving guns at recording artists in the studio and threatening women would come back to haunt him after Clarkson’s death. Clarkson, star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-movies, was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills overlooking Alhambra, a modest suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles. Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide,” few residents even knew the mansion belonged to the reclusive producer, who spent his remaining years in a prison hospital east of Stockton. Spector became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. But ultimately, his recording artists began to quit working with him and musical styles passed him by. “He self-destructed in the most horrific manner,” said David Thompson, the author of “Wall of Pain: The Biography of Phil Spector,” released in 2004. “But we have to separate the two. There are so many people who were once revered then we find out they did something terrible. It wipes out all of their achievements. I don’t agree with that.” Thompson said Spector’s biography was one of his toughest to write, because he wanted to solely focus on the music. But while working on the book, he found out about Spector’s conviction. “That was a hard balance,” he said. “I wanted to write about the music, just what he did, what he created and what he gave us. But you had to sort of balance it with the awful things he did.” Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
GREY-BRUCE – The Saugeen Field Naturalists conducted their 44th annual Hanover-Walkerton Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 19, 2020. According to the group’s newsletter, this activity has become one of the largest citizen science projects in the world. The 2020 count was a bit different from past years, due to the pandemic. It didn’t end with a dinner the day after the field outing, but instead with one via Zoom. Care was taken to ensure distancing for everyone’s safety. Gerard McNaughton said the Walkerton-Hanover area count identified 44 species this year including one new species, an osprey. “The actual number of field participants was down as several long-time counters bowed out of this year’s count but once things return to normal I’m sure they will be back,” said McNaughton. He said the weather was a bit blustery, starting out with cloudy skies in the morning and little wind, and shifting to snow showers and limited visibility at times by mid-day, making finding birds harder as the day went on. Most groups said the birds were hunkered down and that most feeders were empty for the first time in years, making for a difficult day. McNaughton said, “As always, several quality birds were observed including a first-ever osprey found by Joy Albright just outside Walkerton. Presumably, the same bird was seen just before count week started but not since, so that was a great find for count day. Several winter finches also put in appearances to help bolster overall numbers.” The overall summary is as follows: Mute swan - 7 Canada goose – 1,339 Mallard - 383 Common goldeneye - 19 Common merganser - 50 Sharp-shinned hawk - 3 Cooper’s hawk - 2 Red tailed hawk - 12 Rough legged hawk - 9 Bald eagle - 11 Osprey - 1 Ruffed grouse - 2 Wild turkey - 132 Ring-billed gull - 428 Herring gull - 121 Great black-backed gull - 2 Rock dove - 439 Mourning dove - 105 Eastern screech owl - 7 Belted kingfisher - 2 Red-bellied woodpecker - 6 Downy woodpecker - 34 Hairy woodpecker - 13 Pileated woodpecker - 3 Northern shrike - 4 Blue jay - 100 American crow – 1,083 Common raven - 3 Black-capped chickadee - 344 Red-breasted nuthatch - 27 White-breasted nuthatch - 32 Brown creeper - 10 European starling – 1,117 American tree sparrow - 51 Dark-eyed junco - 348 Snow bunting - 300 Northern cardinal - 39 Purple finch - 2 House finch - 108 Common redpoll - 164 Pine siskin - 71 American goldfinch - 334 Evening grosbeak - 1 House sparrow - 136 Total was 44 species, 7,405 individuals. Accipiter Sp. - 1 Hawk Sp. - 1 Gull Sp. - 83 Woodpecker Sp. - 1 Two additional species were recorded during the count week period. The hooded merganser and pine grosbeak were both seen in the three days leading up to the count; nothing was reported in the three days after count day. “The next count will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 so mark your calendars now,” said McNaughton. “Let’s hope that everything is back to normal by then and that we’re able to get together to swap stories from the field. Until then, the best of health and happiness to everyone and good birding.” The Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago. Winter hike All indoor activities of the Saugeen Field Naturalists have been cancelled because of COVID-19, but outdoor activities continue. The next one is Jan. 16 – the Winter Nature Hike. The location will be the Murray Tract, the less-well-know part of the Kinghurst Nature Reserve, at 1:30 p.m. Participants must register (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
On peut dire que la jeune artiste Janik Marceau a une vie assez occupée. Celle qui est intervenante au Centre d’action bénévole de Jonquière, assistante de cours en travail social et étudiante à la maîtrise dans ce domaine trouve tout de même du temps libre pour faire la réalisation de toiles, d’objets décoratifs et de dessins qu’elle affiche sur sa page Facebook. L’artiste de 27 ans originaire de Chicoutimi se souvient qu’elle a toujours été attirée par les arts. « Depuis très jeune, j’adore dessiner, j’adore créer. J’ai toujours eu ce côté artistique, depuis que je suis toute petite », se remémore-t-elle, lors d’un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Depuis quelques années, elle considère cette passion un peu plus sérieusement. Elle a mis sur pied une page Facebook, afin de montrer au public ses plus récentes créations. Près de 900 personnes suivent cette page. Divers médiums Janik Marceau a bien des talents. Au début, l’artiste se concentrait sur des toiles en acrylique, surtout d’animaux, mais crée maintenant au gré de ses inspirations. « Je suis une fille passionnée et quand j’entreprends quelque chose, je suis mes inspirations, même si elles sont nombreuses et souvent toutes en même temps. C’est ce qui fait que mon art est aussi diversifié », explique l’étudiante à la maîtrise en travail social. C’est d’ailleurs son inspiration du moment qui l’a mené vers l’époxy et la résine, des matériaux qui lui ont amplement servi dans les derniers mois. Elle a créé de nombreuses barrettes à cheveux, plateaux de service pour la cuisine, sous-verre, en plus de toiles abstraites des plus originales. Elle n’a pas de préférences en termes de médium. « Ça dépend toujours du moment. Des fois, j’ai vraiment envie de travailler avec l’époxy, et d’autres, je préfère l’acrylique. J’aime toucher à tout donc ça dépend vraiment du moment, de comment je me sens et de comment je suis inspirée », raconte Janik. Lorsqu’elle pense à son parcours, plusieurs créations la rendent très fière, mais elle se souvient d’avoir été touchée lorsque l’ancien Premier ministre Philippe Couillard a affiché l’une de ses toiles, à son bureau. Il voulait davantage faire connaître les artistes de la région en présentant leurs œuvres à son lieu de travail. Objectifs Janik souhaite qu’un jour, ses œuvres soient exposées dans des galeries d’art. Elle aimerait aussi, quand elle le pourra, participer à davantage d’événements artistiques sociaux. Elle a récemment participé à la boutique éphémère de la Place du Royaume et il y a quelques années, au Salon de la femme. « À long terme, j’aimerais être reconnu autant professionnellement qu’artistiquement. J’aimerais devenir travailleuse sociale, mais mon rêve est d’être psychothérapeute. J’aimerais peut-être même combiner l’art avec la relation d’aide. Je trouve que ça ferait un beau mélange qui combinerait mes deux passions », avoue la jeune femme. Pour avoir plus de détails et suivre les nouvelles créations de Janik, elle invite les intéressés à suivre sa page Facebook. Un onglet « Acheter » permet aux abonnés de voir les pièces disponibles et de poser leurs questions. L’artiste fait aussi des pièces sur mesure.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
The provincial government released its list of communities receiving charitable gaming grants for the last half of 2020. More than $1.3 million will be given to local communities from Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming for the fundraising done from July to September 2020 in communities across the province. Groups raising money through “licensed charitable gaming” like bingo, raffles, Monte Carlo events, etc. receive 25 per cent of their net proceeds back in the form of the charitable gaming grant, explained David Morris, Manager, a spokesperson with Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming. Numbers released in the Jan. 14 press release quantified the grants by areas of the province with the North Battleford and the surrounding area receiving $141,175; Humboldt and the surrounding area receiving $57,629, and Yorkton and the surrounding area receiving $56,187. While these numbers are only for the third quarter of 2020, Morris said numbers have been impacted by COVID-19 as local events and bingo halls have been shut down. “Many raffles take place in conjunction with sporting events and many sporting events have been cancelled. That’s impacted the number of raffles. If you go to a hockey game, often the team has a raffle and there are no games so there are no raffles.” Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority are proud to support local organizations that fundraise using the charitable gaming program, said Jim Reiter, the minister responsible, in the press release. “The charitable gaming grant program provides extra dollars that help these groups deliver their services in a variety of important sectors including public service, emergency services, health care and recreation.” Local organizations are eligible for the grant program following the filing of their charitable gaming reports. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
BRUCE COUNTY – Christine MacDonald, director of human services, made a brief presentation in December on a new emergency response agreement with the Canadian Red Cross. The county has had an agreement with the Red Cross since October 2014. The most recent three-year agreement was set to expire at the end of December. MacDonald said staff have been negotiating with the Red Cross on a revised two-year agreement that will expire Dec. 31, 2022. At that time, the Red Cross anticipates modifications to their service approach due to lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the reason a two-year agreement was recommended instead of one lasting three years. The revised agreement establishes parameters that would have the Red Cross provide emergency services that may include registration, reception and information, family reunification, emergency lodging, emergency food services, emergency clothing, transportation and personal services. In addition, the Red Cross responsibilities in preparing for an emergency include recruiting and training volunteers to deliver local emergency services; stocking and maintaining supplies and logistics capacity; and participating in county-led emergency preparedness exercises, activities, and/or meetings. The annual cost of the agreement is $10,000. It is included in the 2021 budget. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
The European Union sought Monday to ease concerns that citizens might be obliged to get shots against the coronavirus before they’re allowed to travel, as debate swirls over the use of vaccination certificates to help reopen tourism across the 27-nation bloc. The European Commission has been weighing a Greek proposal to issue vaccination certificates to help get travellers to their vacation destinations more quickly and avoid another disastrous summer for Europe’s tourism sector. Greece plans to issue digital vaccination certificates to each person inoculated against COVID-19. EU heads of state and government are due to discuss the proposal at a video-summit on Thursday. European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic insisted that “vaccination is voluntary.” He noted that some people cannot be inoculated for health reasons while others might simply object. “We are taking all the precautions that we would not create any ground for different treatment of these people, or any kind of limitations of their rights,” he told reporters after taking part in videoconference talks between European affairs ministers. Sefcovic said the priority now must be to gather data about the disease and its treatment on digital platforms on a Europe-wide scale so that health experts can compare the way the virus mutates, how the vaccines are working and whether testing standards are harmonized across the 27 member countries. “We need to make sure that the data would be collected electronically in respect of all data privacy rules and it should be done on interoperable platforms so we can share the data,” he said, adding that it’s need to assess the “efficiency of the vaccines, for the evaluation of the whole vaccination process.” Vaccinations have started across the 27-nation EU, but it is unclear what proportion of the population will be vaccinated in time for the summer holiday season. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
WINGHAM – North Huron Food Share reported a 77 per cent increase in the need for emergency food boxes last month, compared to last year. Joyce Johnston, a board member for the agency, told Midwestern Newspapers that overall, the numbers are up 23 per cent, including more seniors and new residents. Approximately 87 new families were added to the number of clients they provide for, 2020 seeing 211 families compared to the 140 families assisted in 2019. Board member, Roxane Nicholson, said 50 families utilized the food share program when they opened their doors for the first time in 2021, up from 30 – 35 families reported in previous years. The board members want to acknowledge the community’s overwhelming support and the generosity of their landlord, Doug Kuyvenhoven, plus the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, who are crucial for their ability to fulfill the increased needs of the community. The increasing necessity for assistance prompted Kuyvenhoven to expand the current facility, as reported by the Wingham Advance Times in Nov. 2020. The new space is now open, the extra 300 square feet help to ease the congestion. “Between the increased volume, the addition of deliveries, and our attempts to follow COVID-19 protocols, the new space will take the pressure off the congested space we were working in,” Kuyvenhoven said, adding “the new number system of calling customers in one at a time ensures that customers and volunteers are able to maintain proper physical distancing.” The food share program receives fresh food every Monday from the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, and thanks to the new space and the recently purchased walk-in freezer, they can store, package and deliver more fresh produce along with other goods. They also share the donated items with the local Salvation Army who runs their own food distribution agency. The current needs include a request for cash gifts to fill the gap left after receiving donations. Volunteers can use the cash to purchase items at a reduced price at local grocery stores. Foodbank Canada said on their website that “providing food to those in need can be difficult at the best of times. With COVID-19, that task just got harder. Yet food banks continue to be leaders in their communities to provide food to those who live with food insecurity. “Food Banks Canada is in regular contact with the network of food banks across Canada, and already there are signs of COVID-19’s devastating impact on the food bank system: Food banks are already seeing drastic declines in the number of volunteers that can support their work in the days/weeks ahead. Food banks are concerned about the amount of stock they have access to, as a dwindling workforce means fewer pickups. Most food banks are worried about how to support themselves through this crisis and beyond financially. While the public prepares for possible impacts of COVID-19, food bank users cannot afford the same measure, leaving them more vulnerable. Food banks are adapting to these rapidly changing circumstances, but it is clear that help is needed.” To donate cash or food or apply for a hamper, contact the North Huron Food Share program at 519-357-2277 ext. 4, or visit them on their website at nhfoodshare.ca. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Facebook Inc said on Monday it had started the process of appointing a legal entity as a local representative in Turkey in compliance with a new social media law which critics have said will muzzle dissent. The company said its decision did not change its community standards, which outline what is and what is not allowed on Facebook, nor its process for reviewing government requests. "We will withdraw the representative if we face pressure on either," the company said in a statement, adding that it remains committed to maintaining free expression and other human rights in Turkey.
BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s planning and development committee has approved a draft plan of subdivision in Lucknow, for Hellyn Development Inc. The plan calls for development of a 5.109-hectare parcel of land on the west side of Lucknow with 28 detached dwellings, four townhouse blocks and a stormwater management block. The number of townhouse units will be between 38 and 46, making the total number of residential units 66 to 74. New municipal streets will be constructed, with two connections to Montgomery Lane at Hamilton and Rose streets. According to the report presented to the county in December, “It is a logical infill project in the settlement area that makes efficient use of land and infrastructure. Therefore, the plan is strongly aligned with the ‘good growth’ guiding principle.” As discussed earlier in the fall by Huron-Kinloss council, the plan is good news for the Lucknow community and the wider area of both Bruce and Huron counties. The land is presently used for agriculture, but is designated primary urban communities in the Bruce County Official Plan, and residential in the township’s Official Plan. The property is within the village’s settlement area. Lands to the east and south are residential, with a mix of single-family dwellings, townhouses and vacant lots. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Ontario reported its lowest COVID-19 case count since Jan. 1, with 2,578 new cases confirmed on Monday, but with only 40,300 tests completed.
Norway has stressed that there was no established link between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the deaths of elderly people who had been vaccinated.View on euronews
The Confederation Trail has been turned over to the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association for the winter after a recent snowfall on Jan. 3. The trails are reserved for the snowmobile association in the winter, and the volunteerled group manages and maintains the snow surface for its members. Association president Dale Hickox is reminding walkers to stay off the trails while they are being maintained for snowmobile traffic. “It’s for your own safety,” he said. In recent years, there have been a number of close calls between snowmobiles and a person or an off-leash dog on the trail. The lease agreement between the province and the association stipulates that, while the association is in charge, the Confederation Trail is for snowmobiles only. The dates for the snowmobilers used to be set from Dec. 1 to March 31, but that changed in 2016. Now the lease comes into effect when there is enough snow for the association to groom the trails. Hickox understands people who use the Confederation Trail in the summer would naturally want to be on it in the winter as well. “I get that,” he said. “I want the walkers on it if we’re not there.” In seasons like this one with its late snow, summer rules remain in effect until the tip-to-tip network is snow-covered and ready for the “sleds” as enthusiasts call their snowmobiles. Now that there is enough snow to have association members out and about, Hickox reminds everyone that even though the hard-packed snow is a tempting way to explore winter, it’s not the same trail as in summertime. The speed limit in rural areas is 80 km/hr, and the snowmobiles “don’t stop in a second,” he said, adding most of the machines are a lot quieter than they used to be and can catch people unaware. “In the summer, you don’t have to worry, it’s only a bicycle coming behind you. But in the wintertime, it’s a motorized vehicle that’s coming and it’s going a lot faster than a bicycle,” he said. At the end of last season, Hickox and the association were in discussion with the province about putting up signs at road crossings to help educate trail users of the winter rules. It didn’t happen this year, but Hickox hopes if the association gets the signs in time for next year, the provincial workers could put them up when they open the gates at each road crossing in advance of the snowmobile season. Destinie Graham, a new P.E.I. resident, agreed signs would help. “I moved from out of province, so I had no idea about the snowmobile association having exclusive rights to the trail until it was mentioned by a community member. Signage would help to inform people who may not be on social media,” she said. For now, Hickox said the association is planning a radio campaign to help educate people about safety on the Confederation Trail in winter. Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer
Saskatchewan's active case rate of COVID-19 continues to lead the country. On Sunday, Health Canada said Saskatchewan had an active case rate of 351 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. That surpasses Alberta's active case rate of 280 per 100,000 and Quebec's 243 per 100,000. Saskatchewan's case rate continues to climb, even as national numbers go down. On Jan. 13, Saskatchewan had an active case rate of 319. By comparison, the national average rate for active cases is sitting at 200, a decrease of 15 cases from last week. The provincial government is staying the course when it comes to provincial restrictions. Currently, only immediate household members can gather indoors. Groups of up to 10 people are allowed outdoors provided physical distancing can be maintained. Mandatory masking is in effect, as are restrictions on sports, fitness, dance and places of worship. The Ministry of Health will look at revising limitations by Jan. 29 at the latest. Health Minister Paul Merriman said he was heartened that cases before Christmas had dropped and hoped current restrictions would shrink cases again. Sask. below average for testing Saskatchewan lags behind the country in COVID-19 testing. On Sunday, Saskatchewan's per capita rate was 272,809 people tested per million. The national rate was 438,598 people tested per million. As of Sunday, 203 people were in hospital, with 33 people in intensive care. Administered vaccine doses so far total 20,159. CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
A major Saint John employer is set to shut down this month, when Saputo Inc. wraps up milk processing at its north end plant, affecting 60 jobs. The former Baxter's Dairy plant opened in 1931 and was purchased by Saputo in 2001. Saputo offers products under a multitude of brands, including Baxter, Cracker Barrel and Scotsburn. Almost a year ago, the company announced its intention to close. John MacKenzie, a Saint John city councillor whose ward includes the plant, says the imminent closure will be difficult for the neighbourhood. "It's been around for 90 years," said MacKenzie. "A lot of people have gained employment through that facility. A lot of history … it's really heartbreaking, devastating, for families when a business closes its doors." Dairy farmers hurt too The closure will not only affect the employees at the plant but also local dairy farmers, who had milk processed at the plants. Paul Gaunce, chair of Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, said the producers will now have to send milk to Nova Scotia or Quebec for processing at their own expense. Gaunce said there won't be any changes to the price of milk because of the changes, but he's still not happy to see the plant shuttered. "I'm very, you know, disappointed because you need processing to keep your industry supported," said Gaunce. "When we lose processing, it just hurts everybody." Saputo earnings fell When the closure was announced last year Saputo said the move was made in an effort to "right size" operations after net earnings for the company dropped by 42 per cent. The company said employees not offered relocation would be given severance packages. MacKenzie said he's confident laid-off workers will find work in the city. "I was looking online this week and I noticed that there were over 290 jobs available," said MacKenzie. "There's opportunities there." MacKenzie said he hasn't heard about any plans for the soon-to-be unoccupied plant, the property is prime for development. "If they sold the property it would make a great spot for some affordable housing with the school right next door and a park behind them and grocery stores within a block," said MacKenzie.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A petition to recall the chair of the Anchorage Assembly for failing to cancel an August meeting because of pandemic emergency regulations is scheduled be put to district voters on the April ballot. The petition to recall chair Felix Rivera was certified by the city clerk Friday, Anchorage Daily News reported. The petition included the required 2,735 signatures of voters from Anchorage’s District 4, the clerk’s office said in a letter to sponsor Russell Biggs. The required number is 25% of the votes cast for the seat in the April 2020 election during which Rivera was elected. The decision on the recall petition can be appealed to Alaska Superior Court, the letter said. The certified petition is expected to be presented to the Anchorage Assembly at its Jan. 26 meeting. The next regular election is April 6, which is within the 75-day window required to hold a recall vote following the assembly’s receipt of the petition. The petition claims Rivera failed to perform his duties as chair when he did not halt an August assembly meeting after another member said the gathering may have exceeded capacity restrictions under a pandemic emergency order. Rivera maintains the recall is “frivolous” and said he believes the attempt will die in court. “I remain confident that it’s not even going to get on the ballot, but we will see,” Rivera said. A group supporting Rivera plans to file a lawsuit against the Municipality of Anchorage and Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones for approving the petition. The recall effort has support among a group of residents upset with the assembly’s recent actions involving pandemic management — including its backing of the acting mayor’s emergency orders and a vote to approve purchases of buildings for homeless and treatment services. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
It was easy as one, two, three. On Thursday, the same day Ontario entered a province-wide stay-at-home order, leaving the country couldn’t have been easier. Just pick up the phone or log into the Air Canada website. Find a sunny destination outside the country. And voila, a flight from Pearson International Airport to Miami could be booked without a hitch. That’s exactly what The Pointer attempted Thursday despite Ontario’s local travel restrictions in place until at least February 11. How could that be? Why are residents allowed to travel to Florida, or many other overseas destinations, but they can’t visit their own family just a few blocks away? Most would assume, with a pandemic raging and daily case counts continually reaching new highs, that driving to the airport during a province-wide stay-home order would be hard and barriers in place would make booking travel difficult. This is not the case. Airports, like stores, have increased their COVID-19 protocols, but have not put steps in place to discourage travel. Much of the travel industry including airlines like Air Canada is still operating as if the pandemic is under control, requiring mask wearing, testing and quarantining but encouraging residents to still go on vacation. Questions about symptoms, plenty of hand sanitizer and the odd thermometer have been put into the mix, yet Ontario airports, including Pearson in Mississauga, aren’t subject to anything you wouldn’t see at the grocery store. On Wednesday evening, when the Province finally unveiled the details of its stay-at-home order, this was made clear. Nestled among the list of essential reasons to leave the house — exercise, groceries and medical trips — was another option: travel to an airport. During the lockdown it is not the place of police or bylaw officers in Ontario to ask where exactly someone’s eventual destination from an airport will be. As a result, a trip from the quiet streets of Peel, to the airport then into the sky and, eventually, onto a beach, remains firmly within the rules. “There are currently no legal barriers to getting on a plane to the U.S. from Pearson, nor have there been since the start of the pandemic,” Ambarish Chandra, associate professor of economic analysis and policy at the University of Toronto, who lists COVID-19 border closures in Canada among his areas of expertise, told The Pointer. “It's not clear that the Province has the power to curtail Canadians' right to foreign travel without suspending their Charter rights.” Over the holiday season, plenty of politicians took advantage of the loophole. Kamal Khera (Liberal MP Brampton West) and Rod Phillips, the former PC finance minister, were among those caught out and publicly criticized. One of the questions raised when politicians across the country were caught flying abroad during the holiday season was the issue of entitlement. While those who can afford such luxuries are still able to get on a plane, many suffering financially because of the pandemic or even before, can't even plan a local trip because of the stay-home order. It creates a two-tier reality, critics have said, and many wealthier Canadians have simply paid to avoid the recommendations while putting others at risk. While the trips demonstrated poor decision making and a selfish attitude toward the rules, the same holidays can still be booked by everyday Ontarians. Public health agencies are begging people not to, but the rules do not actually prohibit it. Booking a flight on the Air Canada website, for example, you would be hard pressed to find evidence of the pandemic that has claimed more than 5,400 lives in Ontario alone. A small, green bar across the top of the website offers answers to the question, “Where can I travel right now?” but otherwise things look the same. On Thursday, The Pointer searched for flights from Toronto Pearson Airport to Miami on Friday, January 22 through Air Canada to understand the process. In the various stages of booking the flight, reminders about flexible tickets and changes to the in-flight meal system were the only hints of the public health crisis playing out across the world. Travel to the United States from January 26 will require a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours, while the same rules apply to those travelling or returning to Canada, along with a mandatory 14 day quarantine. These rules do not stop travel or prescribe essential reasons, but do add an additional step to the process. “Other than our regular requirements (i.e. travel documents in order) we do not have any restrictions,” Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for Air Canada told The Pointer, referencing the fact federal or provincial governments may have a different response. They didn’t. “The Province does not have the legal authority to prohibit international travel,” Ivana Yelich, director of media relations for Premier Doug Ford, told The Pointer. Yelich referenced numerous comments by Ford supporting increased border restrictions for those entering Canada. “International travel is solely the responsibility of the federal government.” “The Premier’s message is simple, stay home,” she added, when asked if Ford supported additional restrictions on outgoing travel. “We are asking Ontarians to avoid all non-essential travel at this time. Any restrictions on outgoing or incoming travel is the responsibility of the federal government.” The federal government did not return a request for comment in time for publication. The Pointer also phoned Air Canada’s booking call centre to specifically ask if there were any barriers or advisories against travelling out of Peel Region, or anywhere else in Ontario, to sit on a beach in Miami. The airline’s booking line, which also handles other customer support, was clogged, with a wait time of 56 minutes on Thursday afternoon, hours after the stay-at-home order came into effect. Eventually, an agent explained the U.S. and Canadian rules around receiving a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of flying, but said that was “basically the only requirement”. There was no advice offered against travelling or about the dangers of spreading COVID-19 through discretionary trips. “I'd be surprised if the federal government were to institute any ban on foreign travel either.” Chandra said. “The best they can do is discourage foreign travel which is already happening, both from explicit recommendations and from the need to quarantine for two weeks upon return.” In short, there is nothing to stop international travel by Canadians as COVID-19 fatigue and the dragging winter test people’s patience. Like so many of the COVID-19 protocols governing residents in Peel, it is about appealing to people’s better nature and commitment to flattening the curve. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Public health and elected officials are asking people to stay home and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. “With the Provincial Stay at Home Order in effect, it is crucial that residents not leave their homes for anything other than the essentials, like groceries, medical appointments or exercise,” Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health, told The Pointer. “This means cancelling or postponing all non-essential activities or going virtual where possible. I know this is frustrating and it’s been a long year and we have all sacrificed a lot. With the arrival of [the] vaccine in Peel, let’s keep pushing and beat COVID-19 together.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Moscow is ready for a quick deal with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to extend the last remaining arms control pact, which expires in just over two weeks, Russia's top diplomat said Monday. Months of talks between Russia and President Donald Trump's administration on the possible extension of the New START treaty have failed to narrow their differences. The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5. Biden has spoken in favour of the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president, and Russia has said it’s open for its quick and unconditional extension. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference Monday that Moscow is ready to move quickly to keep the pact alive. “The most important priority is the absolutely abnormal situation in the sphere of arms control,” Lavrov said. “We have heard about the Biden administration’s intention to resume a dialogue on this issue and try to agree on the New START treaty's extension before it expires on Feb. 5. We are waiting for specific proposals, our stance is well-known." New START envisages the possibility of its extension for another five years, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is ready to do so without any conditions. The Kremlin also has voiced readiness to prolong the pact for a shorter term, as Trump's administration had pondered. The talks on the treaty's extension have been clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States, which have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Sunday's arrest of leading Putin critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow after his return from Germany where he was recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin will further cloud Russia-U.S. ties. Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called on Russian authorities to free Navalny. “Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable,” Sullivan said in a tweet. New START was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. Arms control advocates have strongly called for its preservation, warning that its expiration would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, striking a blow to global stability. In 2019, the U.S. and Russia both withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed in 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and banned land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,410 miles). And last week, Russia declared that it would follow the U.S. to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty allowing surveillance flights over military facilities to help build trust and transparency between Russia and the West. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Underwhelming at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic has a second chance to prove himself at the German club where he made his name. The Serbian striker came off the bench in his first game back on loan in the Bundesliga on Sunday and scored two goals, lifting Eintracht Frankfurt to a 3-1 victory over Schalke. It was an explosive half-hour cameo as Jovic sent a rising shot into the roof of the net off, then added another in stoppage time after beating a defender with his footwork. That was as many goals as he scored in 19 months with Madrid. “Couldn’t have imagined a better comeback,” Jovic wrote on Instagram. “I hope this is only the beginning and that the best is yet to come.” Frankfurt teammate Djibril Sow recounted a pre-game conversation where Jovic said he would score once if given 15 minutes of game time, twice if he had a half hour. “He kept his word,” Sow said in comments reported by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. “And it isn't something you can take for granted to deliver like that in your first game. A lot of class.” If he can keep it up, that kind of scoring form could bring Jovic back to relevance in Madrid after spending 2020 in the spotlight more for his injuries and conduct amid the coronavirus pandemic than for his increasingly rare appearances. Jovic's record of two goals in 32 games for Madrid is far below the form — 27 goals in 48 games for Frankfurt in 2018-19 — which earned him a transfer to Spain for a reported 60 million euros ($72 million). That reflects Jovic's limited game time in Madrid, with only 11 starts, and his own less-than-stellar performances. Jovic looked visibly frustrated in his last start for Madrid in one of the most ignominious games in the club's recent history, the 3-2 home loss in October against a Shakhtar Donetsk team so badly depleted by coronavirus cases that it had to draw on youth players. The pandemic threw Jovic's career into turmoil. In March, he travelled home to Serbia when the Spanish league was suspended and was pictured at a party. Jovic faced a possible six-month prison sentence for breaking quarantine but the case was resolved when he agreed to pay 30,000 euros ($36,000). When the Spanish league resumed, Jovic was sidelined with a foot injury he picked up while training at home. He missed yet more games after testing positive for the coronavirus in November. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane gave few opportunities to Jovic but in October said the striker was an important part of his squad. Zidane said he was the one who asked Madrid to sign Jovic and dismissed reports of a rift between them. If Jovic can keep scoring for Frankfurt, it could also be what the club needs to fulfil its potential. Frankfurt has excelled in knockout competitions in recent years with a German Cup title and a run to the Europa League semifinals, but hasn't been able to get above mid-table in the Bundesliga. After Sunday's win, the team is three points off the Champions League places. “For Luka, it's extremely important that he comes back here, where he had his best time and where he feels good," Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter said. “Scoring two goals like that shows his class.” ___ AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Madrid and Associated Press writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports James Ellingworth, The Associated Press