Some international travellers who need proof of a negative COVID-19 test say getting a test, or proof of one, has been a challenge and airlines say there wasn’t enough time to prepare.
Some international travellers who need proof of a negative COVID-19 test say getting a test, or proof of one, has been a challenge and airlines say there wasn’t enough time to prepare.
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
“Tropic of Stupid,” by Tim Dorsey (William Morrow) “Tropic of Stupid,” the 24th novel in Tim Dorsey’s series featuring obsessive-compulsive psychopath Serge Storms, finds the anti-hero and his drugged out sidekick, Colman, zipping around their beloved Florida in a borrowed sports car. As usual, they’ve got a kidnap victim whimpering in the trunk. This time, Serge is obsessed with researching his family tree, binge-watching all 155 episodes of an old Lloyd Bridges TV show called “Sea Hunt,” and visiting every state park in the Sunshine State. Along the way, he rubs out a scam artist who’s been preying on the elderly, destroys the national ambitions of a crooked politician and discovers that he’s not the only active serial killer inhabiting his family tree. Although Serge is a prolific killer, his victims are always creeps you might stab, set on fire or feed to sharks yourself if you weren’t squeamish about that sort of thing. The other homicidal maniac in the family prefers innocent victims, so Serge sets out hunt him down. This puts Serge in a competition of sorts with a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent working the same case. If this sounds all crazy to you, you’re right. Crazy is what Dorsey is all about. Like each of his previous novels, “Tropic of Stupid” is a wacky celebration of violence, depravity and the weirdness of Florida. Think the Three Stooges meet Ted Bundy. This one isn’t quite as funny as “Naked Came the Florida Man” (2020) or his tour de force, “The Big Bamboo” (2009), but it does have its moments, and it is told in Dorsey’s customary manic prose style. The book is apt to offend those who insist that drug use and murder are not fit subjects for humour, but it is sure to appeal to readers who think that Carl Hiaasen’s slapstick noir novels are too darned subtle. ___ Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.” Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
Canada's unemployment rate in December was revised to 8.8% from 8.6% on Monday, while the net decline in jobs for the month was amended to 52,700 from 62,600, as Statistics Canada completed a historic review of its labor force data. The revision, undertaken to ensure the data was aligned with recent population and geographical boundary estimates, had "virtually no effect" on employment estimates for the pandemic period of March to December 2020, the agency said.
York Region public health certified health inspector Nadia Varbanova shares the biggest issues and concerns she comes across during her inspections at big-box stores.
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 457 nouveaux cas pour la journée d'hier, pour un nombre total de 253 633 personnes infectées. Parmi celles-ci, 227 215 sont rétablies. Elles font également état de 41 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 9 478. De ces 41 décès, 12 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures, 26 entre le 17 et le 22 janvier, 2 avant le 17 janvier et 1 à une date inconnue. Le nombre total d'hospitalisations a diminué de 56 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 1 327. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a augmenté de 3, pour un total actuel de 219. Les prélèvements réalisés le 22 janvier s'élèvent à 33 719, pour un total de 5 646 660. Au cours des 7 derniers jours (depuis le 16 janvier), ce sont 72 396 personnes qui ont été vaccinées, pour une moyenne quotidienne de 10 342 personnes vaccinées.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
After much discussion, the Township of McMurrich/Monteith will remain in the regional fire training program. The Township received 16 letters from residents on Jan. 18, relating to concerns of not entering into the shared fire training agreement. Here are some key quotes from the discussion: “My concern is that I will not be able to get my people trained anymore or be able to get them certified; as a result, I won’t have firefighters to meet what we need to do in our municipality,” said McMurrich/Monteith’s fire chief John Ross. “I do not have the manpower to take on a single-family dwelling, so the automatic aid has been a huge plus for us, along with everything else that comes with it: the training, the bulk purchasing … the collaboration with the other departments. Leaving just the training has such a huge fallout.” “The contract is the problem, not the trainer — I’ve never had a problem with the trainer so to be clear on that, it’s the contract,” said Coun. Alfred Bielke. “The only way I know we’re going to get the service we require is to enter into this agreement because, right now, we’re being told we can’t get the training. We don’t have the personnel to even fight a fire in our own township … we’re putting our people at risk, we’re putting their homes at risk and we’re putting lives at risk, so the only way to get this back is to rescind the motion we defeated and put it back on the table,” said Coun. Dan O’Halloran. “For the authors of our letters, and the people that are listening, this agreement (is) a prelude to the regional fire training and regional fire department …” said Coun. Lynn Zemnicky. “I just want people who are listening to realize that the previous council jumped on board to chip in on this equipment, (the) ice and fire rescue boats … they were thousands of dollars; one is housed in, I believe, Kearney and the other in Magnetawan. If you fall into Bear, Doe or Buck Lake, I hope you can stay treading water until it comes all the way from Magnetawan. That’s where your taxpayer money is sitting.” “Our stations are going to stay our own and be operated by our council and our fire chiefs. Purchases will still be done through our council and not through the region …” said Reeve Angela Freisen. “If we opt out of this, we’re losing the automatic aid and, as Chief Ross said, we don’t have enough personnel to handle our own fires, (and) we’re going to lose the benefit of group purchasing.” “I would like to see council agree to continue with the training and take an active part in the working out of the funding model over the (next three) years, but in the meantime, our fire department doesn’t suffer,” said Ross. McMurrich/Monteith council directed staff to notify the six municipalities participating in the regional firefighter training agreement that the following should be added to the draft agreement. The funding model will be discussed within three months of signing; the proposed allowance be submitted by invoice, not automatic payment, and all cost increases must be decided by unanimous vote of all the municipalities. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
Paris City Hall has instructed the landlord seeking to close down the city's indebted Fan Museum to extend its deadline for payment, the museum said Monday. Director Anne Hoguet said her beleaguered museum — a registered historic monument — owed 117,000 euros in rent arrears due to losses incurred during virus lockdowns last year. The money was due Jan. 23 and the landlord had threatened to seize the museum's priceless artifacts as payment. In response to AP’s reporting, on Thursday UNESCO called on France to do more to protect the small museum that French officials had placed on an intangible heritage list only last year. Hoguet said that Paris City Hall officials confirmed to her that they had intervened to get the landlord to delay the deadline. “It's a huge relief. We hope to live another day,” Hoguet said. Paris Deputy Mayor Karen Taieb told the AP that officials are now meeting with Hoguet on Feb. 5 “in order to think about long-term solutions for this heritage museum which is in a very complicated situation.” Hoguet said that she has been inundated with offers of donations since last week’s media reports. The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A weekend of Environment Canada warnings about snow over the south coast of British Columbia produced very little of the white stuff and all warnings except the one covering Metro Vancouver have now been lifted. But the weather office says up to five centimetres of snow is still likely for higher elevations of North and West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. Other areas of the Lower Mainland can expected to see rain or occasional sleet through the day, but little or no snow on the ground. Environment Canada had been calling for as much as 15 centimetres in some south coast regions by Monday morning. Parts of eastern Vancouver Island, higher areas of Greater Vancouver and the eastern Fraser Valley reported modest accumulations over the weekend. Snow also covered highways leading into the southern Interior early Monday, but no warnings or advisories were posted. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
Niagara College now requires staff and students to wear enhanced personal protective equipment where physical distancing is not possible. In a recent release, Niagara College said in consultation with Niagara Region Public Health, and in light of the spread of the new United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 in Ontario, it has implemented the enhanced PPE requirements on campus. A medical-grade face mask and eyewear is now required for all staff and students attending classes, labs and workspaces where it is not always possible to maintain a physical distance of two metres. The college said a reusable fabric face mask is acceptable when outside of classrooms and labs and when physical distancing can be maintained, It will be providing staff and students enhanced PPE with medical-grade face masks and eye protection. The college will address staff and students who have a medical exemption that prevents them from wearing PPE on a case-by-case basis. The college also implemented schedule changes. To comply with provincial orders regarding on-campus/in-person instruction that requires classes and labs to be limited to 10 students or fewer plus faculty, several courses will be re-sectioned to ensure class sizes are within provincial limits. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska held the enviable position of having the highest rate of coronavirus vaccinations per capita in the nation as of last week, the state's top health official said. Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said last Thursday that the progress was the result of community efforts to quickly distribute vaccinations and additional allotments for federal agencies within the state, KTOO-FM reported. Zink told the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce that Alaska receives more doses of vaccine because of allowances above the state’s share for the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service. “We have the highest veterans per capita population. We have a large military presence. And we have a large Indigenous population with over 229 sovereign tribes,” Zink said. “And so, because of those reasons, we did get some additional vaccine in the state via those federal partnerships.” The allotment for the Indian Health Service, which works with tribal entities to deliver health care to Alaska Native residents, could have been subtracted from the state’s share of the federal supply, but ultimately was allowed to be added, Zink said. “That’s been transformational for Alaska, that decision for Operation Warp Speed,” Zink said of the Trump administration's name for the national vaccine distribution initiative. More than 14,000 people had received both required doses of a vaccine cycle as of last Thursday, while more than 67,000 people had received at least one of the shots in the series. 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
Takedown NOTICE Please DO NOT USE story slugged LJI-ON-Huntsville-fire dept.-recruiting headlined Huntsville-Lake of Bays fire department kicks off online recruitment in February. This story has been killed by its news editor. Regards, Local Journalism Initiative AVIS d'annulation Prière de NE PAS PUBLIER l'article identifié LJI-ON-Huntsville-fire dept.-recruiting et intitulé Huntsville-Lake of Bays fire department kicks off online recruitment in February. Cet article a été annulé par le rédacteur en chef de la publication. Merci de votre collaboration, Initiative de journalisme local Zahraa Hmod, muskokaregion.com
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency. The justices threw out Trump’s challenge to lower court rulings that had allowed lawsuits to go forward alleging that he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The high court also ordered the lower court rulings thrown out as well and directed appeals courts in New York and Richmond, Virginia, to dismiss the suits as moot now that Trump is no longer in office. The Associated Press
LOGEMENT. À l’exemple de Queen’s Park, Québec solidaire demande au gouvernement québécois de suspendre à nouveau les évictions résidentielles pour toute la durée de l'état d'urgence sanitaire. «Pendant que le Québec a les deux pieds dans la deuxième vague et que les mesures de confinement sont plus strictes que jamais avec l'imposition du couvre-feu, les évictions de locataires se poursuivent de plus belle sans que la CAQ bouge le petit doigt. Même le gouvernement conservateur de Doug Ford a compris l'importance de maintenir les personnes chez elles durant ces temps particuliers et a annoncé un nouveau moratoire contre les évictions pour la durée de la situation d'urgence. Qu'attend le gouvernement Legault pour faire de même?», s'interroge Andrés Fontecilla, le porte-parole solidaire en matière de logement tout en rappelant que le moratoire a été levé en juillet dernier par la ministre de l'Habitation, Andrée Laforest. «Comme c'était le cas en mars dernier, la flambée des cas de COVID-19 se conjugue à une grave crise du logement. Le gouvernement de la CAQ sait très bien que la loi actuelle fait défaut et qu'il doit colmater les brèches qui permettent les expulsions abusives, notamment les rénovictions. Nous allons continuer de veiller au grain afin que la loi soit revue et corrigée, mais en attendant ces changements, il est urgent de décréter un nouveau moratoire sur les évictions. Personne ne doit se retrouver à la rue en plein couvre-feu», martèle Andrés Fontecilla, le député de Laurier-Dorion. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Structure and rhythm are important for Ayden Rana. The six-year-old is on the autism spectrum and requires a little extra help to complete his studies. When the winter break turned into an extended period away from the classroom, keeping most children and teachers at home, it presented a unique challenge for Ayden and his mother, Karen, who found herself playing the role of teacher, therapist, support worker and parent. “He was very receptive the first two days, I would say, to virtual learning because he got to see the teacher and the educational assistants,” Karen said. But the novelty quickly wore off. Studying became much harder. Learning became even more challenging than usual. Touch and sense are key to Ayden’s educational development, meaning the curiously flat, two-dimensional world of pixels on a screen, fell far short of meeting his needs. “The educational assistant realized his needs for tactile material — he’s not grasping the Chromebook — so she put together a binder with all the activities,” Karen explained. “All the math, English, all the subjects he would do at school, along with his puzzles, his timer [and] his favorite pens [are included].” The binder is carefully prepared by his educational assistant every week and left for Ayden to pick up, offering new material to make the best of a difficult situation. For some other students with special needs, learning at home — even with the extra work and resources — isn’t a possibility. As a result, despite the province-wide shutdown and stay-at-home-order, some are still physically in school. A few teachers are on hand, along with a small army of special education assistants. At the Peel District School Board, they are referred to as educational assistants (EAs) and a large number of the board’s 3,800 EAs are reporting for duty. At Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, where they are known as educational resource workers (ERWs) 40 school sites are open and staffed. A major issue for EAs working at PDSB is a lack of coordination and tracking by the board, Natacha Verdiel, president of OPSEU Local 2100, the union representing EAs at PDSB, explained to The Pointer. Unlike students and teachers who cohort together, EAs do not have to sign into classrooms and are not included in contact tracing efforts when an outbreak is declared. “An EA might cross cohorts 14 times on any given day,” she explained. “They might report to 12 different classrooms to provide support to high needs students. They’re now cross contaminating between students, that’s alarming, and no one knows they’ve been in that classroom.” As a result of their specific profiles, many children with special needs are unable to wear a mask. Some even find staff wearing them to be upsetting and can attempt to physically remove them. Depending on a child’s age, size and unique needs, such behaviour can be challenging. In some instances the desire to create normalcy can even lead to aggressive actions by some students. That’s why some personal protective measures to mitigate the risk of viral spread can’t be used. “Here’s what I don’t think the public understands: the students that are reporting to the physical building right now are students who cannot wear masks,” Verdiel said. “They are all unmasked, all of the students are unmasked. Most of them are extremely behavioral, they are our highest needs students in the system.” Verdiel described one situation where a particular student coughs, spits and sneezes as part of their behavioural profile. “The staff in there are covered in bodily fluids, all day long,” she said, lamenting the lack of effective personal protective equipment and how masks can act “as a target” for some students who attempt to remove them or strike the workers wearing them. For the parents of children with special needs, the role EAs, ERWs and the education system play can be nothing short of a miracle. Staff are able to look after children during the day, calm them and tend to their various behavioural and physical needs. “Some of our workers have phenomenal skills… some of them are outrageously amazing at what they can do,” Pam Bonferro, president of the Dufferin Peel Educational Resource Workers’ Association, told The Pointer. “They’re like pied pipers, they walk into a room and the students calm down.” Karen Rana agrees, describing Ayden’s EA as a rock. “He changed three classes [due to COVID-19 attendence variations], so you can imagine,” she said. “Three classes, three teachers, three sets of students, but with the same assistant. She has been the constant and it’s been very positive for Ayden.” The work of classroom assistants is often born of passion. As a vocation, many pursue the work out of a desire to help care for children and assist with their challenging development. “It’s not that they don't want to support the students that are there,” Verdiel added. “They want the Province to acknowledge that those who are reporting in person are unable to maintain any kind of physical distancing at all. Their job is very, very, very high risk in terms of exposure to bodily fluids.” Highlighting the fact the government is working hard during a crisis, but still missing key supports, Bonferro said ERWs and EAs are being inadvertently positioned in opposition to the very families they support. “What they have technically done is they have pitted the EAs against the parents,” she said. “They are taking the EAs voice away, if an EA speaks up, they’re going to be kind of vilified as the bad guy [in the] situation. So they are way beyond stressed and what’s really tearing them apart is: they have a conscience, they care about the kids they work with.” The Ministry of Education did not provide a response in time for publication. Despite working in the same space as teachers, classroom assistants have unique demands, detailed by the unions who represent them. Where teachers can safely distance from pupils, even in the same classroom, EAs and ERWs are unable to make the space. Their duties include helping students use the bathroom, feeding and, when needed, physically helping them to calm down. “The exposure level that a teacher has when they’re standing in front of a classroom teaching versus the exposure that an EA has when they’re being spat in the face or restraining a student [is significantly different],” Verdiel said. The unions have several specific asks of the Doug Ford government to improve the situation. They include pandemic pay, more robust PPE and rapid access to the vaccine. Under the Province’s current vaccination rollout, teachers and classroom assistants find themselves on the list at the same time. The second phase, which also includes older adults living in the community and several other key worker categories, could run as late as July, which risks some EAs and ERWs not being vaccinated until during the summer break. “The government has taken on the position that EAs are now essential workers; however, they are not being provided with the same level of pay or protection,” Verdiel said. “The NDP has long called for pandemic pay for all frontline workers, and believes educators should be included among the groups prioritized to get their vaccine,” NDP Education Critic Maritt Stiles told The Pointer. “Special education assistants, who are now working in classrooms with vulnerable people, should be vaccinated as soon as possible, when the vaccine becomes available.” PDSB provided a statement offering extensive instructions to EAs around wearing PPE. It did not address questions around contact tracing and EAs working in multiple classrooms. “Since returning from the winter break, all students and staff, including EAs, who have returned to in-person learning and working are required to follow the Active Daily Screening process,” a spokesperson told The Pointer. At DPCDSB, contact tracing does not appear to be an issue and ERWs are carefully monitored. “School principals maintain a record of any ERWs that are working in the school and should a positive COVID case be reported, any staff and students that worked with, or could be considered to be a close contact, would be identified for contact tracing,” Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations for the board, told The Pointer. As most schools remain closed and the majority of children learn at home, EAs and ERWs continue to show up for work feeling increasingly isolated and vulnerable. “Everybody is sympathetic, everybody understands,” Verdiel said. “Nobody is willing to do anything.” 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
AGRICULTURE. Une campagne de sensibilisation aux réalités du milieu agricole bat son plein en Montérégie. Cette initiative publique, lancée au printemps dernier sous la thématique Notre campagne, un milieu de vie à partager entre dans sa seconde phase. Elle doit aborder plusieurs thématiques, dont celles de la santé des sols, des odeurs, du partage de la route et des bruits générés par les activités agricoles. La MRC de la Haute-Yamaska participe à ce projet, de même que douze autres MRC partenaires de la Montérégie, la Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie et l’agglomération de Longueuil. «Plusieurs outils de communication ont été développés, portés par le réseau des municipalités afin de déboulonner les croyances, atténuer les contrariétés et aborder les enjeux liés au travail agricole. Cette campagne vise à favoriser le vivre ensemble et le dialogue entre les producteurs agricoles et les résidents de la zone agricole en Montérégie», précise Joëlle Jetté, porte-parole de la Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie. Avec l’étalement urbain, les secteurs résidentiels se rapprochent inéluctablement des campagnes. Et les irritants se multiplient. Les municipalités en sont conscientes et cherchent à les désamorcer. «La vie a changé. Les agriculteurs de la Montérégie souhaitent dialoguer avec leurs voisins. Résider dans un milieu agricole nécessite parfois de la patience, mais l’agriculture locale nous garantit un approvisionnement en quantité suffisante de produits frais et de qualité supérieure», explique Jérémie Letellier, président de l’UPA de la Montérégie. «L’agriculture est un secteur innovant, à la recherche de solutions en matière d’agroenvironnement et de lutte aux changements climatiques. Il était temps, surtout en Montérégie, de faire le point», ajoute Mme Jetté. «Les commentaires sont très positifs. Quand on parle des réalités et des contraintes des agriculteurs, les gens apprécient.» L’agriculture, ma voisine! Chaque MRC a en main son Plan de développement de la zone agricole (PDZA). L’enjeu de la cohabitation avait souvent été soulevé par le secteur municipal. «La Montérégie est le garde-manger du Québec. Quand on veut privilégier les circuits courts, l’agriculture de proximité, cela veut dire, l’agriculture, ma voisine. Il faut comprendre ce que ça implique que de vivre dans un territoire agricole», affirme Joëlle Jetté de l’UPA. La première phase de la campagne lancée au printemps. Le projet avait l’été dernier rejoint avec succès les enfants dans plusieurs camps de jour. L’initiative a permis de sensibiliser près de 700 enfants aux réalités du monde agricole. Au total, 36 activités ont eu lieu dans 27 municipalités de la Montérégie. Il est probable que l’expérience soit reconduite l’an prochain. La campagne se poursuit jusqu’au mois d’octobre 2021. Les questions entourant la gestion de l’eau et des pesticides seront abordées au cours des prochains mois. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
TRANSPORT. Dans le cadre d’une opération visant à repérer et à sanctionner les conducteurs dont le véhicule lourd était mal déneigé qui s’est déroulé le 18 janvier, la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) a remis 88 constats d’infraction et 76 avis de non-conformité. Notons que l’article 498.1 du Code de la sécurité routière prévoit l’interdiction de circuler avec un véhicule couvert de neige, de glace ou de toute autre matière pouvant s’en détacher et susceptible de présenter un danger pour les usagers de la route. L’amende prévue est de 60 $ à 100 $ plus certains frais. La SAAQ rappelle que la neige qui couvre les phares, les feux et les vitres réduit le champ de vision du conducteur. Un véhicule enneigé est également moins visible des autres usagers de la route. Par ailleurs, la présence de neige ou de glace, particulièrement sur un véhicule lourd, peut présenter un danger pour les autres usagers de la route. Finalement, la neige qui poudroie en se détachant d’un véhicule réduit considérablement la visibilité, pour les véhicules circulant derrière, alors que les morceaux de glace qui se détachent peuvent blesser des piétons, endommager des voitures et même causer des accidents. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
“Let Me Tell You What I Mean,” by Joan Didion (Alfred A. Knopf) Back in 1968, Joan Didion identified a problem with the mainstream media. “The only American newspapers that do not leave me in the grip of a profound physical conviction that the oxygen has been cut off from my brain, very probably by an Associated Press wire …,” she begins in an essay that goes on to criticize traditional news outlets, including the wire service carrying this review, for pretending that there is such a thing as neutral, unbiased, objective reporting. That article, “Alicia and the Underground Press,” was a snarky ode to alternative newspapers in the 1960s like the East Village Other and Berkeley Barb that might have been “amateurish and badly written” but at least had the virtue of speaking directly to their readers, and speaking to them as friends. Some 50 years later, in a media landscape dominated by players who present “alternative facts” with a straight face, and consumers who get their news through platforms tailored to their specific interests, Didion’s critique seems more prescient than ever. The essay is one of 12 she wrote between 1968 and 2000 that have been collected in a new volume, “Let Me Tell You What I Mean,” sure to be of interest to Didion completists and fans of such cultural touchstones as “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” and “The Year of Magical Thinking.” Others haven’t aged as well. Another piece from 1968, about Gamblers Anonymous, quotes the people at a meeting in ungrammatical English, speaking “as if from some subverbal swamp.” In “A Trip to Xanadu,” she sneers at tourists at the Hearst Castle in their “slacks and straw hats and hair rollers.” But when she punches up instead of down, the results can be devastating, as in her portrait from the same year of Nancy Reagan, then the wife of the California governor, portrayed as a media-savvy control freak and distant mother to her then 10-year-old son. Similarly, her 2000 profile of Martha Stewart captures what most observers missed at the time — that Martha wasn’t selling homemaking, she was selling success. The best of the bunch have to do with the subject Didion, 86, knows and cares about most — being a writer. In essays like “Why I Write,” whose title she borrowed from George Orwell, “Telling Stories” and “Last Words,” she makes it clear why she has been an essential voice in American arts and letters for more than half a century. Ann Levin, The Associated Press
BERLIN — It’s back to the future for Hertha Berlin, a club tormented by its own ambition as it fails to deliver after huge investments and finds itself overshadowed by crosstown rival Union Berlin. The club re-hired former coach Pál Dárdai on Monday to shake up the team after yet another lacklustre start to the season. Dárdai replaces Bruno Labbadia, who was fired the day before. “Pál has Hertha Berlin in his blood and we are absolutely convinced that his clear manner will give the team the necessary new impetus,” Hertha chief executive Carsten Schmidt said. Hertha is 14th in the 18-team Bundesliga, two points above the relegation zone after winning only one of its last eight games, over last-place Schalke. Dárdai's return was made possible following the dismissal Sunday of general manager Michael Preetz, who opted not to keep him on as coach at the end of the 2018-19 season. Dárdai had been in charge since February 2015 and his team was solid but unspectacular. Hertha needs stability at this stage. “As a die-hard Herthaner, he knows everyone here and doesn’t need any time to settle in,” Schmidt said of Dárdai. It is just under a year since investor Lars Windhorst said Hertha should be mixing with the best in Germany and qualifying for European competition. “It’s not rocket science,” Windhorst said in February 2020. But Hertha has only disappointed since Windhorst first invested in the club in June 2019. The financier has pledged 374 million euros ($450 million) to Hertha altogether. He is yet to see any sign that his money is well spent. Underwhelming performances on the pitch have been accompanied by turmoil off it. There have been major boardroom changes and Hertha worked its way through four coaches last season – Ante Covic, Jürgen Klinsmann, Alexander Nouri and Labbadia. Labbadia came in while the Bundesliga was suspended due to the coronavirus, and was fired after nine months in charge on Sunday. Hertha lost four of its last five games last season, and four of its first five this time around. Hertha captain Niklas Stark, asked Saturday if the team was still behind the coach, would only say that it was not his decision to make. The firing of Preetz, who hired 11 coaches altogether, ended his 25-year association with the club that began when he was a player in 1996. Preetz is taking most of the blame for Hertha’s problems. Hertha fans called for his resignation in a socially distanced protest outside the Olympiastadion before Bremen’s visit on Saturday. They also protested against Hertha president Werner Gegenbauer, who remains at the club. Preetz oversaw a spending spree of well over 100 million euros ($121 million) since Windhorst arrived. Only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have spent more. Preetz jettisoned experienced players like Vedad Ibisevic, Per Skjelbred, Salomon Kalou and Thomas Kraft in a shake up of the squad, but none of the new arrivals have been able to impress so far. Hertha’s struggles have been amplified by Union’s success with much less means. Union was expected to struggle in its second season in the Bundesliga, but it is currently eighth after earning points against Bayern, Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, among others. Hertha has already adjusted its targets for the season. “Whenever you think you’re better than the others, you’re already a point behind,” Schmidt said. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge has ruled in favour of an online political writer who was prevented by Alaska's governor from attending press conferences. Judge Joshua Kindred issued an injunction Friday requiring Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy to invite Jeff Landfield to media briefings, Anchorage Daily News reported. Landfield, the owner and operator of The Alaska Landmine website, sued Dunleavy over his exclusion from the governor's press events. The former independent state Senate candidate uses the website to write about the Alaska Legislature, state government and politics. Attorneys from the Alaska Department of Law argued that because the governor’s office does not credential members of the media, and therefore does not set standards for press conference admittance, Landfield could not sue on First Amendment grounds because there was nothing to challenge. Kindred ruled Landfield had been denied due process, writing in the order that members of the media have the right under the First Amendment to be invited to press conferences. The governor may deny a member of the media the ability to ask questions while at a briefing and the governor can choose not to answer questions, Kindred ruled. Kindred concluded that a lack of written rules does not mean the governor’s office can make ad-hoc decisions about admittance. “Acceptance of the government’s arguments would effectively stand for the proposition that First Amendment rights do not exist for any members of the media in Alaska,” Kindred wrote. The injunction does not require Dunleavy or his communications staff to adopt a formal, written process. But they must invite Landfield to future events while legal proceedings continue, the ruling stated. The Associated Press