Waves splash against rock bed on a sunny day.
Waves splash against rock bed on a sunny day.
Quebec is tightening the health guidelines for stores and malls for the holiday shopping season in an attempt to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said Wednesday she wants Quebecers to be able to shop for loved ones in a safe environment.The measures include: * A maximum capacity of customers based on floor space available to customers. The capacity must be displayed at the front of the store or shopping mall. * Signs about distancing rules to ensure compliance while shopping and waiting in line. * Clear markings so that shoppers can more easily navigate the store.Guilbault acknowledged that many shopping venues already have these measures in place. But she said those that don't risk being fined up to $6,000 or closed altogether.She said police and workplace safety inspectors would increase their presence in shopping districts during the holiday period.The province reported a record 1,514 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic, along with 43 deaths.Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's public health director, said earlier this week that shopping malls have not been a major driver of COVID-19 outbreaks but he said stricter guidelines would ensure that remains the case.
BROCK: The Township of Brock is continuing its battle against a proposed supportive housing development in Beaverton. At a meeting on Monday, November 23rd, councillors voted to pass an interim control bylaw “to prohibit the establishment of Supportive Housing and Modular Construction, including Manufactured Dwelling Houses, for a period of twelve (12) months, in order to allow for the appropriate completion of further research and consultation.” The supportive housing project is being spearheaded by the Region of Durham, and was announced earlier this year as an expedited development project. According to the Region of Durham, the project is expected to include about 50 units, and will be designed as an apartment building for “single, bachelor-style living only.” The facility is also expected to offer “supports and wrap-around services to residents in the north and the greater Durham community.” But the project has been controversial within the Brock community, with several local residents and councillors recently speaking out against it. Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble stressed the importance of establishing this bylaw measure. “This is really just an important step in better preparing for the future of Brock Township, and making sure we do our due diligence in terms of the planning study, to make sure any supportive housing projects we choose to move forward with are done in a way that is setting them up for success,” she said. Ward 1 Councillor Michael Jubb also supported passing the bylaw. “This is a new reality of life that’s upon us, and it’s very important right now we get this right,” he said. But Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell was concerned about the potential legal ramifications of the bylaw. “It’ll have a real financial impact on our taxpayers if it turns into a legal battle, so I can’t support this,” she stated. Regional Councillor Ted Smith said negotiations between the township and the Region of Durham will continue on this development. Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer called this new bylaw “good forward looking planning.” Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
A Windsor elementary school outbreak with 49 cases set the "precedent" for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in the province, according to one expert.Biostatistician Ryan Imgrund, who is based in Newmarket, Ont., and works with a number of public health units across the province, told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning that the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public Elementary School set the example of what should be done. "At the time that they found those cases, Windsor was not one of those super danger zones like Toronto, Peel and some other areas like that," Imgrund said. "So I don't think it was expected by anyone that a school that is in a lower-risk area would find up to 50 cases ... I think Begley set the precedent for the whole entire province what we should be doing." After three staff members tested positive for the disease, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit dismissed the entire school on Nov. 17 and advised everyone to get tested. COVID-19 testing was prioritized for the entire school population, with a temporary testing site set up in the school's gymnasium. Overall, 40 students and nine staff members have tested positive. In the same week that Begley was declared an outbreak, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School also went into outbreak and dismissed all students after two positive cases. Testing was prioritized for all members of this group, with a temporary testing site set up in the school, and seven people were confirmed positive. Despite this, and the fact that Begley is the largest school outbreak in the province, Windsor was not included in the launch of an asymptomatic testing pilot project announced last week. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Thursday that the pilot is available for students and staff in the province's COVID-19 hotspots of Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa. "Right now, the next four weeks are targeting the highest-risk regions," he said at the time. "We're following the advice of public health. If they determine, they provide a recommendation it should be expanded or we should augment the list, of course we will continue to follow that direction and implement it swiftly."Lecce told reporters that 99.85 per cent of students in the Windsor-Essex region remain COVID-free, and he and his staff are in contact with school board and public health officials to keep transmission down.Though Begley remains closed, superintendent of education at the Greater Essex County District School Board Sharon Pyke told CBC News Wednesday that the board is working with the health unit and hopes to announce a reopening date this week. A letter sent out to parents in regards to the outbreak had asked them to have their child tested, even if they were asymptomatic. When asked whether she'd like to see asymptomatic testing in schools available in the region, Pyke said it might be best to spare our resources. "I think that if we can keep on top of doing our self-assessments, I think that we perhaps may be better served in terms of our resources in our area, we want to make sure that we're able to test the people that need to be tested," she said."So do I agree? Any kind of preventative measure is good for anyone so of course I want the best for students, I want the best for our staff. I just want to make sure that they're allocated in the right space and the right spot." An investigation by the local health unit is still ongoing to determine how COVID-19 transmission was so widespread in Begley.
Transit users won't be able to use a credit card or debit card at fare gates for a second day as TransLink investigates suspicious activity on its online network.The transit authority said Wednesday morning that some of its online services are still down after it disabled them Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution."It said "suspicious network activity" affected some of its information technology systems Tuesday morning. Riders also won't be able to use their credit or debit card at Compass Card vending machines during the outage.TransLink says riders can still use cash at vending machines and will have staff on site to help customers with trouble buying fares. The transit provider says stored value may take longer than usual to load onto a Compass Card. It has also disabled its Trip Planner tool and says riders can use Google Trip Planner in the meantime."We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience," the company said in a statement. TransLink says all other transit services are operating regularly.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The head of the European Parliament delegation representing Hungary’s ruling party is being targeted for expulsion from his political group in the European Union legislature after comparing the group's leader to the gestapo.Members of the European People’s Party have called for a vote on expelling Tamas Deutsch, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the centre-right group. Deutsch is a founding member of Hungary’s right-wing ruling party, Fidesz, which belongs to the European People's Party.In a Monday letter addressed to the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, and delivered to all group members, EU lawmakers referenced their “growing dismay and impatience (with the) increasing radicalization and verbal abuses of certain Fidesz MEPs."The signatories demanded that a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion be held at the group’s next meeting on Dec. 9.Weber, who represents Germany, has been critical of Hungary and Poland’s decision to veto passage of the EU’s next seven-year budget and coronavirus recovery fund, which the two countries oppose due to a so-called rule of law mechanism which would link payment of EU funds to countries’ adherence to democratic standards.Weber had called the veto “irresponsible,” and said if media freedom and judicial independence were upheld in Hungary, the country's leaders had no reason to fear the rule of law mechanism.Deutsch told two Hungarian news outlets last week that Weber’s comments were reminiscent “of the Gestapo and (Hungary’s communist-era secret police) the AVH.”In the letter demanding a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion, EPP lawmakers called his remarks “shocking and shameful.”“Comparing our support for the rule of law with Gestapo or Stalinist methods is an insult to all of us in the EPP group,” the letter reads.Deutsch told pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet on Tuesday that the effort to oust him from the EPP was proof that Hungary must “use all means” to prohibit adoption of the rule of law mechanism.The Hungarian delegation to the European People's Party also is facing fallout from the news that another senior lawmaker had attended an illegal lockdown party in Brussels. Fidesz MEP Jozsef Szajer resigned Sunday after police broke up a party that media reports described as a sex orgy.The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary and engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric. In a weekend interview with Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Weber said the EPP would have already made a decision on expelling Fidesz from the group were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.A spokesperson for the EPP confirmed to The Associated Press that Weber had received the letter, and said that it would be up to the EPP’s presidency when to hold a vote on Deutsch’s exclusion.Justin Spike, The Associated Press
The public hearing for the proposed Grassy Mountain mine continued hearing witnesses’ evidence and cross-examination during the week of Nov. 3. The scheduled topic items included geology, damming safety, accidents and malfunctions, industrial waste and waste management, and effects on the environment like climate change. Dam right Much of the discussion focused on the mine’s four surge and four sedimentation ponds. Surge ponds capture water from precipitation that passes under the waste rock deposits that may be tainted with selenium. Sedimentation ponds collect water for treatment and removal of suspended solids, aided by coagulating agents called flocculants and letting particles naturally settle. Explaining the nature of the ponds, said Benga’s vice-president of external relations, Gary Houston, was important because many opponents of the mine point to the danger posed by tailings ponds. Tailings ponds typically hold toxic materials left over from industrial processes involving water. Benga would not be using tailings ponds because the mine would mechanically dewater during its processes. Most of the ponds point toward Blairmore Creek, though two sediment ponds are near Gold Creek. The pond locations are needed to catch water flow from the mine, thus minimizing the risk of erosion and landslide. Proposed dam designs for each pond have followed guidelines set by the Canadian Dam Association as well as Alberta Dam and Canal Safety Directive. After construction, the Alberta Energy Regulator would provide regular monitoring. Opponents of the proposed mine project, however, were concerned Benga had not studied the consequences of a pond failing nor completed an emergency response plan. Though the mining company said creating these plans was subject to the project’s approval, critics responded that understanding Benga’s disaster processes was integral to fully analyzing risks associated with the project. “How can this panel make an informed decision about the risk of your project having impacts on the environment in the context of these sedimentation and surge ponds if, in fact, you haven’t done that study yet and you haven’t presented that evidence at this hearing?” asked Mike Sawyer, legal counsel for the Timberwolf Wilderness Society. “How can we make that decision? Are we just supposed to trust you?” Mr. Sawyer also said the proposal lacked any assessment of how dam failure would affect populations of the westslope cutthroat trout, which contravened expectations set out by the Species at Risk Act. Particularly important information missing was data on how the fish would react to the flocculants and sedimentation in the ponds next to Gold Creek should a leak occur. Issues with dam failure, responded Mr. Houston, were easy to exaggerate since even opening a floodgate would be classified as dam failure. Any effect on the trout from a pond bursting, he continued, would be reversible and only an issue in the short term and would be accounted for in Benga’s planning. “There is a process in place for dealing with these risks and we’re going to abide by that process,” Mr. Houston said. Even with Benga’s assurances that the dam design would mitigate flood risk, expert witnesses asked to participate by the Government of Canada said the dam designs were based on an inaccurate model of how much the average annual precipitation would increase over time. Dr. Ann-Lise Norman, an atmospheric physicist from the University of Calgary, said the issue was the scale used in collecting precipitation data. Benga’s calculations relied on too large an area as scale: a 90-kilometre area was used when industry standard is 10 kilometres. Data collection from Sparwood and Pincher Creek, Dr. Norman continued, was at locations too low in elevation to accurately predict what amount of precipitation should be expected at the Grassy Mountain site. “Higher spatial resolution is critical,” she said. “It produces more accurate results, and I think Benga’s maximum precipitation for Grassy Mountain was based on too low an elevation.” Nothing earth-shaking On top of concerns the mine would be susceptible to storms and flooding, local residents and environmental groups said approving the project would increase the risk of grass and forest fires. The main fear expressed was that distributed layers of coal dust on vegetation in the area would create a volatile situation should a wildfire start. Additionally, critics said Benga had not adequately addressed the risks associated with coal seam fires or coal dust explosions in its environmental assessment. Coal dust, however, was not viewed by Benga as a major issue as minimal amounts of coal would be stored at the site and coal transportation would all be done in covered chutes. “The biggest source of dust will be the road dust,” Mr. Houston said. The company would also have its own fire-protective equipment and trained staff on-site. Worries daily blasting at the mine would contribute to seismic activity in the area were viewed as negligible. Dr. John Cassidy, an expert on seismic hazards from the University of Victoria, noted only 11 earthquakes had been registered within 50 kilometres of the mine site in the last 40 years. The largest quake in that time was measured at a magnitude of 3.2 on the Richter scale. 719 mining blasts had been registered in that same time frame, supporting Dr. Cassidy’s experience that industrial blasting had never been seen to affect seismic activity in an area. The potential for blasting to cause landslides, however, was acknowledged as a risk inherent in the Grassy Mountain area. Benga had put forward in its assessment mitigation measures like annual ground condition inspections — increased after major precipitation — and a ground-monitoring program. Natural Resources Canada had reviewed the measures and found them satisfactory. Although the effect of blasting on Turtle Mountain was not considered significant, Mr. Houston said no specific discussion with the Alberta Geological Survey had occurred in regard to monitoring the mountain. Benga was also unsure if the AGS was monitoring Turtle Mountain for seismic activity. Given the lack of experience Benga as a company had in mining operations, the MD of Ranchland, said lawyer Michael Niven, did not have confidence in the company’s procedures and capacity to respond to emergencies. The gap was one Benga was willing to bridge, said Mr. Houston. “We could talk about the drilling and blasting procedures and the safety measures put in place, the scientific methods for monitoring the blasts,” he said. “Those are all things we’re prepared to discuss if that’s a topic that the MD would like us to come and talk to them about.” To this point, Benga has not had any discussions with the MD of Ranchland concerning the project.Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
The minister in charge of Saskatchewan jails says the province is unable to release prisoners from the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell says the government is doing all it can to protect the inmates and staff at the jail.In the past 10 days, the number of staff and inmates testing positive for COVID-19 at the centre has gone from zero to 142.A variety of people, advocacy groups and support groups are calling for the targeted release of inmates from the centre. According to the government, such decisions would be made by Public Prosecutions.In the spring, Public Prosecutions moved to reduce the numbers in the province's jails. It instructed prosecutors to review all new arrests with an eye to keeping non-violent accused out of jail. Both orders were a response to fears about the COVID-19 coronavirus getting into the jail system."As new arrests come in, they will be assessed with the COVID-19 situation and the situation in the correctional centres in mind," assistant deputy attorney general Anthony Gerein said in March."But we will also be assessing people who are currently on remand to determine whether or not there should be any change to their status."On Tuesday, Christine Tell defended the government's role and said it doesn't know how the virus got into the jail. "We do quarantine everyone that comes into the facility. Why it came into the facility with all the precautions, I can't answer that," she said.She said the jail has been taking precautions to slow the spread, including mandatory masking, no longer charging inmates for soap and banning visitors.NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer said the province's handling and response should cost Tell her cabinet position.Tell said the government will not review how COVID-19 was able to get into the facility. Sarauer said that is not good enough."This is a minister who shouldn't be a minister anymore," Sarauer said.
Waterloo Region council will vote Dec. 2 on whether to get rid of the five child-care centres it operates. Parents and advocates say the move would harm quality of care and leave hundreds of children in the lurch. Tania Gonzalez said her son Marcus has been well cared for since going to Christopher Children's Centre in Cambridge in mid-2019, when he was an infant. Caretakers at the centre recognized when Marcus was behind on his speech and made her aware of it. Marcus started talking around March, said Gonzalez, just before the province declared a state of emergency and closed all child-care centres. When Marcus returned to Christopher in July, they “lost all the progress,” Gonzalez said. “Not for lack of trying at home, but again, we ... don't specialize in children's development,” she said, adding, since returning to Christopher, Marcus is using easily up to 50 words. “It's not just a daycare. It's not just a babysitter. It's a whole system looking out for my kids.” Tania Resendes said her kids Leo, three, and Matteo, one, really love seeing their teachers at Christopher. Matteo, who has hearing loss, could only speak around three words when he started out and saw a “significant difference” within a month of being at the centre, using over 12 words. Resendes said parents should have “options,” and believes it would be hard to find care of the same calibre in a private daycare system, especially for children with special needs. She said she has tried calling around to child-care centres, but it has been hard to find available spots during the pandemic, when child-care centres are operating at a around 70 per cent capacity. “The prospect of closing or off-loading child-care centres during a pandemic is absolutely shameful,” Carolyn Ferns, policy co-ordinator at the Ontario Coalition of Better Child Care (OCBCC) stated in a media release. “The regionally-operated child-care centres play an important role in the child-care system in the Region of Waterloo. “High-quality, public child-care centres are a benchmark for decent wages, pensions, and benefits for educators who are predominantly women.” With the closures, the region would lose around $2.2 million in fees from parents and would free up $4.3 million in provincial financing earmarked for child care, a consultation review found. Closure would also, it found, require the region to immediately shell out up to $6.4 million in severance pay as the region is projected to be $25 million in the red. CUPE Local 1883, which represents workers in each of the five child-care centres, said the move would leave parents, caretakers and the children in the cold. “Hundreds of working families in the region are already at their breaking point during this brutal pandemic,” says Noelle Fletcher, president of the local. “Losing public child-care spaces due to closures or off-loading them to the community will result in a destabilization of care. “Many parents and caregivers may have to quit their jobs and rely on unlicensed, private care with exorbitant fees or be placed on lengthy wait lists in community-based centres.” Staff recommend eliminating Cambridge Children’s Centre, Kitchener’s Edith MacIntosh Children’s Centre, Kinsmen Children’s Centre and Christopher Children’s Centre, both in Cambridge, by mid-2021. Elmira Children’s Centre is recommended to be closed at a future date. As a result, around 250 children would lose support and 62 full-time staff would be permanently laid off. In 2015, council voted against the closure of all five centres amid public pressure. This time, Resendes said, parents were given too little time to prepare. “From the moment that we found out to when it's going to vote, we've been given three weeks to try and advocate, do our research ... and figure out exactly what's going on.” The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 and will be livestreamed. Call 519-575-4400 to leave feedback.Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — Film history fans will get a meal out of David Fincher’s “Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz who is masterfully played by Gary Oldman. Shot in gorgeous black and white, “Mank” transports you into the depression era studio system, Upton Sinclair’s bid for governor, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies’s elegant parties and to that bungalow in Victorville where the first draft of the classic Orson Welles film was composed. Available on Netflix on Friday, “Mank” is one of the year’s very best films and both a tribute to and searing critique of Hollywood’s golden age. Amanda Seyfried, as Davies, is one of the great performances of the year. — Another film full of excellent performances is “Sound of Metal,” starring Riz Ahmed as a punk metal drummer who experiences sudden severe hearing loss. The film, which is captioned in English, dives into the world of the deaf community with Ruben (Ahmed) in a way you’ve never seen or heard before. It’s the directorial debut of Darius Marder (a writer on “The Place Beyond the Pines”), who assembled an crack team of sound mixers and editors to create a unique auditory experience to simulate what Ruben is going through as he loses his hearing entirely. — If $30 was a little steep for your tastes to rent the new live-action “Mulan,” it’ll finally be free for Disney+ subscribers Friday. From director Niki Caro, this adaptation of the Chinese folk tale about a young woman who disguises herself as a man and takes her father’s place in the army, is breathtakingly beautiful, from the stunning landscapes to the colorful costumes. Although it may fall short on the kind of intoxicating story magic that the Disney label signifies, it is worth a watch and may just inspire some curious young viewers to delve into more Asian cinema classics. Also, if you find yourself missing the songs and Eddie Murphy, the animated 1998 version is also available on the service. — AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr MUSIC — A house is not a home during the holiday season if Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is not blasting – daily! During a normal, non-pandemic year, Carey and her Christmas craziness would be on a holiday tour, bringing joy to fans and lambs in-person. Because live shows aren’t really a thing in 2020, she’s launching a holiday TV special on Apple TV+ on Friday. “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” will includes a mix of musical performances and dancing with amination. Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Misty Copeland and Carey’s 9-year-old twins, son Moroccan and daughter Monroe, will make special appearances. — Shawn Mendes released his debut album in 2015 and he’s dropping his fourth effort Friday. “Wonder” continues to showcase Mendes’ growth as a singer, songwriter and performer. The album features the singles “Wonder” and “Monster” with Justin Bieber, which debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot chart this week. Along with the album is the Netflix documentary called “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder,” which is available for streaming and follows Mendes’ rise and journey over the last few years. — Christmas came early when Carrie Underwood released her first holiday album in September, and on Thursday she’ll debut a musical TV special to accompany the album. On HBO Max’s “My Gift: A Christmas Special from Carrie Underwood” — conducted by award-winning musical director Rickey Minor — the country superstar is backed by a live orchestra, choir and her band. John Legend makes a special appearance and viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Underwood’s 5-year-old son, Isaiah, recording his vocals for their version of “Little Drummer Boy.” — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — “Selena: The Series” is described by Netflix as a coming-of-age drama that follows Selena Quintanilla from talented youngster to musical phenom, aided by her family. A breakthrough star in male-dominated Tejano music, the singer was just shy of her 24th birthday in 1995 when she was fatally shot by a former business associate. The two-part series debuts Friday with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) as Selena and Gabriel Chavarria (“East Los Angeles’) and Ricardo Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) among the cast members. — The 11th and final season of the Showtime dramady “Shameless” debuts 9 p.m. EST Sunday, weaving the pandemic, urban gentrification and personal pressures into the lives of the Gallaghers of Chicago’s South Side. Aging patriarch Frank (William H. Macy) is facing the toll of longtime alcohol and drug abuse, while and Ian and Mickey (Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher) struggle as newlyweds. Deb (Emma Kenney) stands ready to give her all to single motherhood and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) feels the same about his nascent law enforcement career. — Two respected veterans are behind “A Suitable Boy,” a limited series directed by filmmaker Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “The Namesake”) and written by Andrew Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “House of Cards”). An adaptation of Vikram Seth’s 1,300-plus page novel of the same name, the 1950s, India-set drama revolves around a university student who’s shaping her identity as the newly independent country does the same. The all-Indian lead cast includes Tabu (“The Namesake,” “Life of Pi”) and Tanya Maniktala. The series debuts Monday, Dec. 7, on Acorn TV. — AP Television Writer Lynn Elber ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
Following the province’s daily COVID Measures update on Dec 1, 2020, Big Lakes County has been upgraded to Enhanced Status. As the Towns of Swan Hills and High Prairie are within Big Lakes County; both communities have also been upgraded to Enhanced Status. This means, effective immediately and until at least December 15th, the following protocols must be followed along with all previous COVID social distancing measures. The following measures went into effect across Alberta on Nov 24, 2020: • No indoor social gatherings in any setting • Outdoor gatherings have a maximum attendance of 10 • Weddings and funeral services have a maximum attendance of 10, with no receptions permitted • No festivals or events • Working from home should be considered, where possible • Grades 7-12 will be doing at-home learning between November 30, 2020 to January 11, 2021 • ECS-Grade 6 at-home learning after break until January 11, 2021 The following measures for Enhanced Status regions now also apply to Swan Hills: • Places of worship must operate at one-third capacity with mandatory masking in place • Restricted access to some businesses and facilities Swan Hills currently has one active case of COVID-19. Detailed information about the restrictions to some businesses and facilities can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
A long-time familiar face in the Hudson’s Hope medical community has retired. Long-time resident and nurse Susan Worrall Soderstrom retired this summer after nearly 30 years serving the community. Soderstrom says her career has been a good one, and says she’s glad she stayed to practice in the small community, often filling much need gaps in medical services. “I’ve got good memories here, people growing up and moving on with their lives. It’s nice to see the generations come through and getting to know everyone,” said Soderstrom. “I went into it because I care about people.” Soderstrom started her career in the Prince George Regional Hospital, working in pediatric intensive care for several years, before moving back to Hudson’s Hope. “It was a big change coming from pediatrics to working with all the adults as well,” said Soderstrom. “But it was a good asset to have, with all the children in town here.” Soderstrom also worked in maternity and end of life care in Prince George. “Right from birth to holding their hands when they leave this world, I’ve done it all,” she said. “It was a great asset to have that experience.” Soderstrom says she’s seen a lot working in the small community — a sinkhole at the WAC Bennett Dam in 1996, fires in 1997, and working out of the District Office basement in 1995 while the current clinic was being built. “That was challenging, working out of the basement,” said Soderstrom, laughing. “The stairs. That was the hardest part, it wasn’t easy having to haul people up and down them.” Since then, Soderstrom has been a regular ‘Jill of all Trades’, stepping in over the years to help fill prescriptions and even taking courses to keep the heating system on at the clinic. Soderstrom says she’s looking forward to taking some time to work on some passion projects. “It’s been busy. You get in that work mode and it’s hard to get out of it, I’ve got to learn to relax and pace myself I think,” she said of retirement. “Once I get myself organized and sorted, I’d like to do some more watercolour painting and photography. Do some artsy stuff. I haven’t been able to do watercolours for six or seven years, just because it’s been too busy with work and home.” Northern Health is currently recruiting for a casual primary care nurse for Hudson's Hope. Email reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com.Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
HALIFAX – Boylston residents won’t be rocking Netflix around-the-clock anytime soon, but they and about 1,000 other rural residents of Antigonish and Guysborough counties are set for unexpected upgrades to high-speed Internet by 2023 – adding to communities announced by Develop Nova Scotia in September. “They’re getting new coverage as a result of scope expansions,” Braedon Clark, a Develop Nova Scotia official, told the The Journal in an email last week. “The number of homes and businesses to be connected is 1,342.” The upgrades now include: Southside Antigonish Harbour, Monks Head, Kenzieville (Keppoch Mountain, Addington Forks, Ohio, Hillcrest, Ashdale, Pinevale, South Salt Springs, Beech Hill), Fairmont, Pleasant Valley, Caledonia Mills (Lower Springfield, Roman Valley), Brierly Brook (James River), Mulgrave (Aulds Cove, Pirate Harbour, Middle Melford, Hadleyville), and Guysborough (Boylston, North Riverside, Manchester, Glenkeen). Other rural communities scheduled for scope expansion along the Eastern Shore include: Musquodoboit Harbour (Lower West Jeddore, Quinlan Dr., Ostrea Lake Rd., Anderson Rd., Innis Cove, West Petpeswick), Lake Charlotte (Clam Bay, Upper Lakeville, Ship Harbour, DeBaies Cove, Southwest Cove, Little Harbour, Clam Harbour, Clam Bay), Goffs (Old Guysborough Rd., Devon), and Chezzetcook (Lawrencetown, Leslie Rd.). The new $24-million initiative through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust (with an additional $9 million from other levels of government and the private sector) will connect 6,700 homes and businesses across the province with high-speed Internet at speeds higher than Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) targets by late 2023. “These scope expansions will reduce the number of remaining unserved or underserved homes and businesses by over half,” said a Develop Nova Scotia press release on Nov. 23. “Preparatory and engineering work will begin immediately on the contract extensions.” It’s not clear whether the scope expansions are part of a planned connection program or an ad hoc response to areas overlooked during the second round of high-speed rural Internet enhancements in the fall. “They (the communities) were identified as still needing connection after our Round 2 announcement in September,” Clark said. According to Develop Nova Scotia, since the first round began in February, more than 21,000 of a targeted 81,500 homes and businesses now have networks in place to provide new or improved high-speed Internet. It also says projects are being completed about 50 per cent faster than industry standards. So far, the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust, other levels of government and the private sector have invested about $263 million the initiative with a goal of hooking up 97 per cent of rural communities in the province with high-speed Internet by summer 2022.Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
SCUGOG: The Scugog Memorial Public library recently announced new safety measures for the facility. The new rules, announced recently, were in response to the Region of Durham moving into the red control zone, of the province’s response framework, on Monday, November 23rd. There will now be a screening and contact info interview held before any patron enters. Library staff are encouraging patrons to “keep their visits as brief as possible” or up to a maximum of 45 minutes. There was also one other change made. “No room bookings or study/lounge spaces are available at this time,” read a Scugog library press release. The local library will continue to require masks and social distancing, keep library shelves open to the public for browsing; with items used being isolated from shelves for 72 hours, the selfCheck kiosk will continue to operate and the library will continue to follow the patron limit inside. For more information, visit www.scugoglibrary.ca. Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
Dysart et al council has signed off on a memorandum of understanding that will allow the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA) to operate on the local trail this winter season, providing the organization comes to a separate agreement with the principal landowners along the site. In what turned out to be a hearty debate amongst council members, a recorded vote saw a majority of the municipality’s elected officials approve the HCSA’s request to amend an existing agreement that will, essentially, transfer a portion of the off-season liability from the snowmobile club to the town should an accident occur. Ward 4 Coun. John Smith was the sole vote against the request. He pointed to issues that Dysart’s legal counsel and insurance provider had with the wording of the new agreement as the main reason he voted to turn the application down. “I’m not trying to prohibit snowmobiling, but as our solicitor has pointed out, and as our insurance company has pointed out, these proposed changes put forth by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, (and presented by local associations), are transferring risk from snowmobiling clubs to municipalities. That is liability from snowmobilers onto taxpayers,” Coun. Smith said. He continued, “For us to proceed with this when our solicitor has written us a letter, and our insurance company have written a letter expressing their concerns over the agreement, and for us to adopt our own casual interpretation of those risks … It’s a concern, for me, that we would appear to dismiss these risks so casually.” Earlier in the meeting, Jeff Iles, Dysart’s director of planning and land information, informed council that the town’s lawyer said it was “not inherently a negative thing” that the snowmobile association was looking to limit its responsibility in the event an injury or damages occur during the late spring, summer and early months of fall, when there’s no snow on the ground. Mayor Andrea Roberts said she understands completely why the snowmobile club would want to initiate such a change. “Why would the snowmobile club want to be responsible if somebody is trespassing on property, or a tree falls, or somebody is hiking on (the trail). I see why they’re asking for this change,” Mayor Roberts said. Coun. Smith did not concur with the mayor’s opinion, pointing to other municipalities and organizations, such as the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, and the Grand River Conservation Authority, who have refused to sign off on their own snowmobile club’s requests. “I remain supportive of snowmobiling in general, but to take these risks on behalf of our taxpayers in the face of professional advice to the contrary… We’re being too casual about this. We need to better understand the potential consequences of putting in place an agreement like this prior to passing the motion that is before us.” While council voted in favour of the new agreement, they did include a clause that staff will continue to consult with legal representation and their insurance company on this file moving forward. It was suggested, by Ward 2 Coun. Larry Clarke, that the municipality simply up their liability coverage with their insurer to cover any potential lawsuit. “It may cost us a few extra dollars, but snowmobile associations bring huge amounts of business to this community, which is so important for our economic health,” Coun. Clarke stated. Although Dysart council signed off on the agreement, the HCSA will still need to negotiate an agreement with Fleming College before its members can use the trail. Should council, at a future date, decide it wants to go back on this agreement, it will need to provide 60 days written notice to both the HCSA and Fleming College.Mike Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo
Dr. Alfonso Fasano of the Krembil Brain Institute at the Toronto Western Hospital explains how the Percept PC deep brain stimulation system works to help doctors keep an eye on patients' brains as they go about their lives.
SCUGOG: Scugog councillors have decided not to send their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality, opposing a motion intended to lessen the tax impact on the community. At a meeting on Monday, November 23rd, Regional Councillor Wilma Wotten made a motion to have “council members support the donation of their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality to reduce the 2021 tax impact for Scugog Township.” The motion noted how the COVID-19 pandemic “continues to negatively impact economic realities for residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and charities.” Councillor Wotten explained why she decided to go this route instead of recommending a wage freeze. “I feel firmly we would be moving backwards if we were to do a full freeze. Originally I thought it would be good to donate it to a charity of choice, but I think it is better to donate it back to the township, so it can go into our revenue,” she said, adding this money would go towards all taxpayers in Scugog, rather than one charity. Ward 4 Councillor Deborah Kiezebrink supported Councillor Wotten’s motion. “I really appreciate Councillor Wotten’s heart and her thoughts. These have been extremely difficult and painful times for so many people. It’s hard because the services the township has to provide cost more. We’re all affected by this,” she said. But, the majority of councillors rejected the motion. “I’m one of those people who [doesn’t] have a problem donating back, but I’d like to donate back to the community by donating the money to the food bank. These are lean times for all of us, and especially for food banks and especially here in Scugog,” Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown said. Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross said this motion does not do enough to help the community. “I support council giving back to the community 100 per cent, but I don’t support this motion because I don’t believe it actually gives back to the community. I think it is a gesture, and that’s fine and I think [there are] times for gestures, how be it though I don’t think this is time for one,” he said. Scugog finance staff estimated the collective wage increase to be about $4,128. Councillor Wotten stated it would be improper for one councillor to decide what one charity these combined funds should be donated to. “How do we choose which one is more important?” she said. Councillor Wotten’s motion failed four to two. Councillors were instead encouraged to give back to charities of their choice. “I know this year I have stepped up my contributions to different organizations, especially in town, and I would just encourage everyone to do the same,” Mayor Bobbie Drew said.Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
BURNABY, B.C. — The death of a teenager in Burnaby, B.C., is now being investigated as a homicide.A statement from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says the 18-year-old woman was found in a Burnaby home on Sunday.She was suffering from critical injuries and died in hospital.Sgt. Frank Jang with the homicide team says one man was arrested at the scene but has been released without charges as the investigation continues.Jang says the woman knew her attacker, the case is considered isolated and there is no risk to the public.He urges anyone with information to contact investigators. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
A former Barrie surgeon has given up his licence to practise medicine and has promised his regulatory body to never apply to register as a physician ever again, anywhere. The agreement arose following a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) disciplinary hearing last week. “The agreement to never reapply for registration… is the maximum level of punishment available in this situation,” said CPSO communications advisor Josh McLarnon. The college had earlier launched investigations into Dr. Emad M. Guirguis and his now-defunct Lakeview Surgery Centre on Dunlop Street following complaints. He was found to perform cosmetic surgery that was outside his scope of practice as a physician, not having the proper training and certification. He also engaged in unprofessional conduct through online advertising and communications with a specific patient. In addition to the practice ban, he was ordered to pay $6,000. “Dr. Guirguis has been brought forward to the discipline committee on a number of occasions,” McLarnon added. An investigation was first launched in 2015 resulting in a caution three years later. Another caution was later issued relating to his compliance of the first issue. In one complaint, Guirguis tried to perform bariatric revision gastric band surgery, but decided not to complete the surgery because he encountered extensive scar tissue from previous surgeries. According to documents from the college’s compliance and monitoring department, he perforated the patient’s bowel during the surgery, resulting in ongoing complications. The complainant said he did not communicate or follow up with her after the surgery or provide a refund of her fee. “The committee... was of the view that the respondent’s pre-operative assessment was insufficient,” the decision of the inquiries, complaints and reports committee found. In another report, an independent assessor concluded: “Dr. Guirguis did not meet the standard of practice of the profession in some of the cases reviewed; his knowledge was adequate but basic; his surgical skills were adequate for his limited scope of practice; his judgment was not always adequate, mostly because the brief documentation does not allow a full understanding of his train of thought and exposes omissions or incomplete assessments; and in the reviewed cases his clinical practice, behaviour, or conduct had the potential to expose one patient to harm.” Other assessors, it added, found broad deficiencies in Dr. Guirguis’s practice. In a report from Dec. 14, 2018, Guirguis was cautioned about not providing a full explanation of a procedure to a patient and ensuring the patient had full clarity about what was going to be done following a complaint to the college about the outcome of a cosmetic surgical procedure. According to CPSO documents, Guirguis agreed he has engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. He was ultimately found to have committed an act of professional misconduct. Dr. Guirguis’s certificate of registration expired Sept. 4, 2020. In addition to the clinic, Guirguis was also once a staff general surgeon at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. Guirguis did not respond to requests for comment, but according to his Facebook page he is studying for his master's degree in theological studies at Tyndale University College and Seminary.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
MONTREAL — Barron Miles and Luc Brodeur-Jourdain will have added responsibilities with the Montreal Alouettes in 2021.The Alouettes promoted Miles to defensive co-ordinator and Brodeur-Jourdain was named offensive line coach Wednesday. Miles was appointed as the team's defensive backs coach and pass-game co-ordinator last winter and will remain in charge of the club's secondary.Bob Slowik had served as Montreal's defensive co-ordinator since 2019, but his contract wasn't renewed.Brodeur-Jourdain became Montreal's assistant offensive line coach in 2019 after playing 11 seasons with the team.Khari Jones remains Montreal's head coach and quarterback coach. The remainder of his staff includes Mickey Donovan (special teams, linebackers); Andre Bolduc (running backs, assistant head coach); Todd Howard (defensive line); Robert Gordon (receivers); Michael Lionello (offensive assistant) and Byron Archambault (special-teams assistant)."We are very happy to have been able to put together such a complete coaching staff, even though we have reduced our staff because of the new reality in the CFL," Jones said in a statement. "We have never stopped working and communicating, as we all look forward to the 2021 season and working with our players."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says the Premier League should have a clear protocol for when there is a clash of heads or concussion.View on euronews