The U.S. president is heard pleading with Georgia's election chief to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state, according to audio clips obtained by The Washington Post.
The U.S. president is heard pleading with Georgia's election chief to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state, according to audio clips obtained by The Washington Post.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking being launched weeks after a mob of insurgents loyal to Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. The announcement Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki is a stark acknowledgment of the national security threat that officials see as posed by American extremists motivated to violence by radical ideology. The involvement of the national intelligence office, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with a goal of thwarting international terrorism, suggests U.S. authorities are examining how to pivot to a more concerted focus on violence from extremists at home. The threat assessment is being co-ordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said. The National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be better shared across the government. “The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,” Psaki said, adding that the administration will confront the problem with resources and policies but also “respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.” Asked whether new methods were needed, she said, “More needs to be done. That's why the president is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on the second full day in office.” Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was “critical” that the Biden administration appeared to be prioritizing the threat of domestic extremism. “In particular, far-right, white supremacist extremism, nurtured on online platforms, has become one of the most dangerous threats to our nation,” Schiff said. The riot at the Capitol, which led last week to Trump's second impeachment, raised questions about whether a federal government national security apparatus that for decades has moved aggressively to combat threats from foreign terror groups and their followers in America is adequately equipped to address the threat of domestic extremism. It's an issue that has flared repeatedly over the years, with different attacks — including a shooting rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue — periodically caused renewed debate over whether a law specific to domestic terrorism is needed. It is unclear when the threat assessment will conclude or whether it will precipitate law enforcement and intelligence getting new tools or authorities to address a problem that officials say has proved challenging to combat, partly because of First Amendment protections. FBI Director Chris Wray said last fall that, over the past year, the most lethal violence has come from anti-government activists, such as anarchists and militia types. Law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations for Jan. 6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters overran the police and stormed into the Capitol. Scores of people are facing charges so far, including a man who was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, as well as people identified in court papers as QAnon conspiracy theorists and members of militia groups. ___ Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Montreal's COVID-19 indicators are improving but the many health orders imposed on the metropolis are likely to remain for weeks to come, the city's public health director said Friday. Health officials reported about 622 new daily infections between Jan. 17 and Jan. 21, down from a daily average of about 765 the week prior. But hospitals in the city remain close to capacity, Dr. Mylene Drouin told reporters, adding that public health officials are far from ready to lift most of the restrictions. "Some of the confinement measures are probably going to stay," Drouin said. "I think what we're going to ask ourselves is what we can reintroduce that is less at-risk and help people find a normal life." Drouin said there has been a sustained decrease this month in the number of new cases per 100,000 people, from 46 in December to 37 in January. Quebec reported 1,631 new COVID-19 cases Friday and 88 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, as hospitalizations dropped for a third consecutive day. The Health Department said the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital fell by 27, to 1,476, with 212 in intensive care, a drop of four. Hospitalizations have decreased by 74 over the last three reporting periods. Quebec has imposed many health orders in recent weeks, asking people to telework, shutting non-essential businesses and imposing a nightly curfew between 8 pm.m and 5 a.m. Of the 88 deaths reported Friday, 18 occurred in the past 24 hours. Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter that the number of deaths reported every day in the province remains too high and he called on people to respect public health orders. Quebec has reported a total of 250,491 infections and 9,361 deaths linked to the virus; 223,367 people are considered recovered. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
BROCKTON – Jennifer Stephens, general manager, did a presentation on the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority’s 2021 budget at the Jan. 12 meeting of Brockton council. This year’s budget shows a 1.6 per cent increase over last year, representing a dollar amount of $27,570. Brockton will be paying an additional $2,546. She stated the goal of the SVCA over the past few months has been to focus on the mandated programs and services outlined in the Conservation Authorities Act. Stephens outlined some of those programs including flood forecasting and warning. The goal is to “keep people away from the water, and keep the water away from people.” This is accomplished through a variety of measures including physical structures such as dams and channel work. SCVA is also involved in stewardship activities, environmental planning and regulations, conservation education, forestry, and non-revenue parks and property management throughout the watershed. To help identify priorities over the next five years, the SVCA is undertaking a strategic planning exercise. It will involve extensive consultation with the public, municipalities and other partners. The plan will incorporate recent changes to the Conservation Authorities Act through Bill 229. Council asked a number of questions, including about changes that have a direct impact on Brockton. Coun. James Lang mentioned two staff members who had played an important role in promoting tourism in the Greenock Swamp. Stephens responded by saying the business of the SVCA is to “protect natural spaces and conduct our mandated programs” through the entire watershed. Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak addressed plans to conduct needed maintenance work in the SVCA’s parks and said he was pleased at the direction that’s been put in place by Stephens. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
TORONTO — After a 10-month investigation, a task force commissioned by the Ontario government has issued a range of sweeping recommendations to reform the province's securities regulator. The Capital Markets Modernization Task Force's 70 recommendations include major governance changes to Ontario Securities Commission, such as establishing an adjudicative body within the OSC to rule on alleged securities act violations. The task force also recommends expanding the agency's mandate to augment its regulatory function, and changing its name to the Ontario Capital Markets Authority. The task force was commissioned in 2019 by Ontario's finance minister, with the goal of encouraging growth and competition in the province's capital markets. In the report, the task force decried the lack of new securities issuers in Ontario, which they warned could lead to fewer head offices and fewer investment growth opportunities in the province. Over the course of its investigation, the task force met with more than 110 different stakeholders as it was developing its recommendations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said he is confident that students and schools in the region are in a good position to safely resume in-class learning on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. “We [continue] to have one of the lowest rates of illness in the province,” Dr. Moore said on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. “Our rates are lower than many of the northern health units, whose schools opened right after the new year.” Kingston-area students have been out of class since Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. The Ministry of Education delayed their return to class following the winter break, originally scheduled for Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, as COVID-19 cases spiked across Ontario. Ontario has been under a Provincewide Shutdown since Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020 and a stay-at-home order since Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Cases in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health region have steadily declined during that time, with only 10 active cases of COVID-19 currently confirmed in the region. Ontario parents were told a decision on whether students could return to in-person class on Monday would be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 20 2021. Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, drew negative social media attention when, late Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted an announcement about gas tax funding in Ontario’s York region, but made no indication of a decision on schools. His statement regarding the reopening of schools was eventually posted at 8 p.m., after the news had already been broken by national outlets who had received a copy. The statement revealed that seven eastern Ontario Public Health regions would be resuming online learning, and that virtual learning would continue elsewhere. Meanwhile, Dr. Moore said he had been anticipating that KFL&A Public Health region would get the green light. He said he had discussed the topic in his weekly conversation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. “I was absolutely comfortable, given that our cases are four cases per 100 thousand per week, very comfortable to say that our schools are opening,” he said. Dr. Moore noted that students and staff will need to follow some additional Public Health measures when they return to in-class learning. “There’s mandatory masking now, even in the school yard, when you can’t physically distance,” he said. Previously children were allowed to play mask-free outdoors on school property. “Also, extra precautions to limit the number of high school students outdoors, congregating. That has to follow the Reopening Ontario Act: five or less are allowed to gather at any one time.” He reminded parents to send extra masks given the weather, as they can anticipate masks will get wet. “The masks don’t work well when wet,” he cautioned. “We’re confident that schools will continue to follow best practices. We’re sending out an information package to them that can be sent to parents, and working on a joint communication.” In the meantime, he asked that any students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and students who have travelled outside the region or had visitors from outside the region, get tested now. The COVID-19 assessment centre is open seven days per week, and results are typically returned in under 48 hours. “We’re ready, locally, and we’ve been in a very good position for the last 10 to 14 days. We’ll monitor the situation very closely,” he said. Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
NEW YORK — Bob Avian, a Tony Award-winning choreographer who had a role in some of the most beloved and influential shows on Broadway, including “Dreamgirls,” “A Chorus Line,” “Follies” and “Miss Saigon,” has died. He was 83. Avian died Thursday of cardiac arrest at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said Matt Polk, head of the theatrical publicity firm Polk & Co. Tony-winner Tony Yazbeck on Twitter called Avian “a sweet and kind spirit who generously gave his creative talents to legendary works.” Marvin Hamlisch said: “His legacy will live on stage for years to come.” Avian rose from a dancer in “West Side Story” and “Funny Girl” to work alongside such theatre luminaries as Michael Bennett, Cameron Macintosh, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was with Bennett that Avian enjoyed a long professional partnership, working as associate choreographer or assistant director on such Bennett-choreographed productions as “A Chorus Line,” “Promises, Promises,” “Coco,” “Company,” “Follies, “Seesaw” and “God's Favorite.” He was a producer on the original “Dreamgirls” and “Ballroom” and did musical staging for “Sunset Boulevard” starring Glenn Close in 1994, “Putting It Together” with Carol Burnett and the original “Miss Saigon” with Lea Salonga in 1991. Avian earned six Tony nominations and won twice, for choreographing “Ballroom” and co-choreographing “A Chorus Line.” He won an Oliver Award for choreographing Boublil and Schonberg's musical “Martin Guerre” in London. He also choreographed “The Witches of Eastwick” in the West End starring Ian McShane. Avian's association with “A Chorus Line” continued when he directed the 2006 revival on Broadway and the London revival at the Palladium in 2013. He also directed touring versions. He earned a bachelor's degree from Boston University and also studied at Boston Ballet School. In 2020, his memoir “Dancing Man: A Broadway Choreographer’s Journey” co-written with Tom Santopietro was published by University Press of Mississippi. He is survived by his husband, Peter Pileski, and a sister, Laura Nabedian. Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
CORNWALL – COVID-19 infection numbers are continuing to slowly decline in the region as provincial lock-down and Stay-at-Home measures remain in place. Since Monday, the active case count has decreased by nearly 100 people. The province announced Wednesday that students in seven health units, including neighbouring Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit will return to in-person learning on January 25th. Students in this region will continue to learn remotely for now. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said Thursday that keeping students in the region learning remotely for now was the right call. "I think it was the right call, looking at the numbers," he said adding that he thought schools could reopen soon. "Despite the fact that [the numbers] are going downwards, we're still pretty high in the Red Zone." According to the province's COVID-19 colour-coded restriction framework, the Red-Control zone is defined as a rolling seven-day average of 40 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said he was encouraged the region is going in the right direction. The seven-day average for new cases peaked on January 9th with 152.2 per 100,000 people. As of January 21st, the average was 84.1 per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said the determining factor in schools returning to in-person learning was that the region had to be clearly in the Orange-Restrict zone, or below 40 cases per 100,000 people. "If the trends continue, we can be there by the time [the province] re-evaluates," he said. The provincial Stay-at-Home order is in place until February 11th. As of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's January 21st update, there are 544 active COVID-19 infections in the region. Locally, South Dundas has four active cases, and 24 cases overall. North Dundas has 12 active cases, 51 cases overall. The City of Cornwall continues to have a highest number of active cases with 226 people infected. The city's tally of overall cases stands at 597. In all, there have been 2,297 COVID-19 cases in the EOHU region since the pandemic began. Currently there are 15 facilities listed by the EOHU as having a COVID-19 related outbreak. None of those facilities are in Dundas County. Roumeliotis said that of those 15 facilities, most have been declared as being in an outbreak due to staff contracting the virus. Only three facilities have residents who tested positive. GlenStorDun Lodge in Cornwall and a Long-Term Care Home in Lancaster are two that have residents who tested positive. At the Lancaster LTC home, at least nine people have died from COVID-19 related illness. The region's death toll has increased to 48. More people have died in the second wave of the pandemic in the EOHU region than in the first. There are 23 people hospitalized, six are in intensive care. Nearly 1,600 people have been vaccinated so far in the EOHU, but due to production cuts by Pfizer, deliveries of the vaccine will stop for a week. The health unit plans on pausing its vaccination plans once its own supply has run out, and will restart once new shipments are received. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
VICTORIA — British Columbia's oldest residents will be able to pre-register for COVID-19 vaccinations starting in March after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized under a provincial plan announced today. People who register for the age-based plan will get a reminder to book appointments when eligible, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says timelines for vaccination will depend on available doses. Residents in long-term care homes and health-care workers who look after them are among those who are currently being vaccinated, followed in February by more residents of Indigenous communities as well as those who are over the age of 80. Those aged 75 to 79 will be vaccinated starting in April as part of the pre-registration strategy that will also include people with underlying health conditions before those in younger age groups are immunized. Everyone who is vaccinated will get a record of their immunization and a reminder of their second dose by text, email or phone call. The aim is to administer vaccines to 4.3 million eligible residents by September using larger facilities including school gyms, arenas and mobile clinics, as well as home visits for those who are unable to attend a clinic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
NORTH HURON – The Township of North Huron released a statement following the Ontario government’s stay-at-home order designed to stop the spread of COVID-19. As Ontario enters its second provincial state of emergency, the Township of North Huron asks citizens to follow the government’s stay-at-home order and avoid any non-essential trips outside their residences. Effective Jan. 14, outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of five people. Everyone is ordered to stay at home, except for work or essential activities such as trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, or medical appointments. “I appreciate the challenges being faced by businesses, individuals, families, and institutions during this unprecedented pandemic, but the case numbers are alarming. Even Huron County has experienced a dramatic increase in COVID cases over the past two months,” Reeve Bernie Bailey said. The following measures came into effect in North Huron on Jan. 14: • All indoor recreational facilities, including the indoor pool, fitness centre, and courts, will remain closed until further notice. • The ice surfaces at the Wescast Community Complex in Wingham and the Blyth Community Centre will be removed. • Outdoor recreational amenities including parks, sports fields, courts, trails, and municipally-owned playgrounds will remain open provided any person who enters or uses the amenity maintains a physical distance of at least two metres from any other person not residing in the same household. • The Blyth Campground is closed. • The Wingham Town Hall Theatre and public washrooms remain closed. • All council and committee meetings will continue to be held through electronic participation until further notice. • Town Hall will remain closed to the public until at least Feb. 12, 2021, unless otherwise announced. During this period, staff can be contacted by phone or email. Essential meetings with staff will be arranged by appointment only. • Daycare services for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers will remain open with existing restrictions remaining in place. All before and after school programs remain closed. The Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health will be providing advice and making an announcement by Jan. 20, regarding the return to in-person learning. “The lives of our residents are at risk, and I strongly urge all residents to stay at home to the fullest extent possible,” Bailey added. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Pendant que la neige tombait à gros flocons samedi dernier, j’ai déniché quelques trésors cachés sur le site web de l’Office national du film, onf.ca. Pour vous, j’ai fait une sélection des meilleurs courts-métrages mettant en vedette la neige, l’hiver et nos paysages nordiques. Idéal pour une soirée de couvre-feu, faute d’aller jouer dehors. Découvrez l’homme derrière la légende qui a sillonné les Laurentides pendant des décennies et qui en a tracé les plus importants sentiers. Ce portrait, réalisé pour le centenaire d’Herman Smith-Johannsen, révèle un explorateur infatigable, sa résilience et son humour. Le documentaire trace des parallèles entre sa Norvège natale et ses Laurentides d’adoption, et nous fait voyager dans le temps. Dans une scène, on le voit racontant ses souvenirs dans une voiture, cigare en bouche, pendant que des paysages enneigés défilent par la fenêtre. En noir et blanc, ce court-métrage offre un regard d’ensemble du ski au Canada, de Banff aux Laurentides. On y retrouve l’enthousiasme des premières neiges, la leçon de ski, le remonte-pente pour les « moins vaillants » (dit le narrateur), et la vue magnifique une fois arrivé au sommet. Somme toute, le sport a bien peu changé, 73 ans plus tard. Une journée à la patinoire, présentée par Gilles Carle, le célèbre cinéaste québécois dans ses débuts. La musique de Claude Léveillée anime même ce court-métrage sans paroles. En bottes ou en patins, on y découvre le simple plaisir de patiner, de glisser et de jouer sur la glace. Pourquoi ne pas jouer une amicale partie de hockey, avant de se déhancher sur la glace au rythme de la musique de l’heure : le rock ‘n’ roll! Suivez ces deux Inuits (appelés Esquimaux dans le film) alors qu’ils bâtissent un iglou pour la nuit, pendant que le narrateur vous explique comment faire. Vous n’aurez besoin que d’un couteau à neige… et de neige. Les Inuits peuvent prendre aussi peu que 40 minutes ou aussi longtemps que 2 jours pour construire leur iglou, selon leurs besoins. Mon préféré. Suivez l’artiste Alexander Young Jackson dans la création de ses paysages uniques. Jackson est membre du Groupe des sept, un rassemblement de paysagistes canadiens qui ont révolutionné l’art durant les années 1920. Pour faire ses ébauches, Jackson part en expédition dans la nature automnale de l’Ontario, au Lac Grace, puis dans les collines enneigées de Saint-Tite-des-Caps, juste au nord de l’Île d’Orléans. On le voit en canot, faire du portage et même escalader les parois rocheuses du bouclier canadien, tout pour trouver le parfait paysage.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Kingston Health Sciences Centre has confirmed that, as of Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, the first 1,900 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to arrive in the region have been administered. As per provincial guidelines, KHSC gave the vaccines to individuals in the first priority group in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes. Now, KHSC President and CEO Dr. David Pichora is asking people to be patient. “With limited vaccine supply, we must focus initially on vaccinating the most vulnerable, those in long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes, where the risk of infection, serious illness and spreading the virus are much higher,” he said. “We are aware that due to work to expand its European manufacturing facility, production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVD-19 vaccine will be reduced for a few weeks and will impact deliveries to Canada,” he added. Canada first learned last week that shipments of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine would be reduced and delayed in the weeks ahead due to supply chain upgrades. In a statement issued issued Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, Dr Pichora noted: “We are working with our partners to adjust our plans accordingly.” Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health, explained that Kingston has arranged to share doses of the Moderna vaccine from neighbouring health units, which will help keep the pace of vaccination. “Our sister health units, because we are working as a team, we knew they were going to get Moderna in the first week of February,” Dr. Moore said on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2021. “We shared Pfizer [with them], they’ve shared their Moderna, and we’re working cohesively as a team trying to ensure that those who are at highest risk will receive the vaccine.” “I have to thank our sister health units,” he added. “That partnership is wonderful.” Dr. Moore said the goal now is to be “flexible and adaptive,” and to try to provide the first single dose to every high-risk resident in a long-term care facility. “Then we’ll work back and we’ll immunize workers, and then we’ll immunize designated caregivers. I think that makes sense from an ethical standpoint given what we’ve seen with the morbidity and hospitalization rates,” he said. Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses, between three and four weeks apart, to be fully effective. Dr. Moore said the vaccine distribution team is not withholding any doses for the second round of inoculations. “We need to get first doses in,” he said. He added that he is hoping for a redistribution of Pfizer vaccine from the provincial government, to ensure the second doses can be administered within the required time frame. “At one o’clock [Thursday], the province heard how much they’re getting from the federal government,” he explained. “Then they’re going to review that amount, and I hope there’s going to be a redistribution if there’s any leftover Pfizer vaccine, anywhere in the province.” “We know our primary target is our long-term care facilities. If there were some doses that were going to go to workers elsewhere, like acute care workers, or other workers, that could be redistributed.” He said KFL&A Public Health should get confirmation on any additional amounts resulting from that redistribution in the coming days. “We’re continuing to work for April. April is when we’ve been told the supply chain will increase, and we may have enough doses in April for one-third of our adult population. That will allow us to catch up on the Phase 1 priorities of First Nations, Inuit, Metis in our community and other healthcare workers.” In the meantime, Dr. Pichora said the second shipment of 1,900 doses will be distributed equally among the three public health agencies in the region, and administered by mobile vaccination teams. “We are confident that everyone who chooses to be vaccinated for COVID-19 will be able to receive the vaccine when there is sufficient supply of this and other vaccines in the coming months, and as vaccination and distribution are expanded beyond hospital sites,” he said. “We need to be patient.” Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
There’s hope at the end of a long water pipe for Verner residents who have endured ‘brown water’ issues for decades. The culprit is high levels of manganese, a naturally occurring mineral in the Veuve River. And it’s been a problem ever since the water plant was built in the 1970s. On Tuesday, West Nipissing council received a report that recommends connecting the community of 1,100 people to municipal water services as the best solution. See: Verner's 'brown water' cleared up for now See: Verner's 'brown water' problem makes rare winter appearance It will take a couple years and about $10 million, but public works consulting advisor Alan Korell told council that connecting Verner to the water line that already serves Cache Bay is the most “feasible” solution. Korell, former municipal engineer, said the latest technical memorandum by Aecon, which was received January 13, looked at several alternatives. Among the options investigated was an upgrade of the existing Verner water plant, using Cache Lake as a new water source and utilizing ground water supply. Doing nothing and relying on chemical treatment, as well as limiting town growth were also studied but rejected. The Cache Lake option would cost $15 million or so, he said, and like the upgrade for the exiting water plant, would require considerable regulatory approvals. And he said studies show there’s no indication a ground water supply is available at the volume needed. As for extending the Sturgeon Falls water plant pipe from Cache Bay, Korell said the least expensive route is running along the CPR rail way corridor. “It cuts out three to four kilometres of pipe,” he said, adding it’s also easier construction compared to running along Highway 17 for almost 14 kilometres. While CPR has indicated it would approve such a proposal, Korell said annual fees would be charged. “There’s a lot less engineering and red tape,” Korell said, noting it would take about two years for such a project with the first step requiring about $400,000 to get a consulting engineer to get the designs, agreements and permits in order. Councillors asked about potential funding available and Jay Barbeau, chief administrative officer, said they can get the project “shovel ready” for funding windows open up. Peter Ming, manager of water and waste water management, said more frequent flushing of the lines and chemical treatment should address the ‘brown water’ issues in the meantime. Ming said there’s been a learning curve when it comes to the Verner water issue, noting that a new chemical to deal with the manganese mineral in the water works well. Recent issues, he said, that left residents with brown water events at the end of December and first week of 2021 were caused by manganese settling in the pipes after leaving the plant. And when they first attempted to flush it out, they drained the system and left residents without any water. Barbeau said they are now flushing the pipes twice a year to address the settlement issues. Mayor Joanne Savage asked that staff prepare a “step-by-step” outline of the plan so councillors can see when each step is taken. Barbeau said council will be seeing the project outlined during budget deliberations and they’ll be able to consider approvals at each stage, including the design work. He said council will be able to decide on its priorities for capital projects then. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Midland's top staffer says more clarity around enforcement means sterner action by the town against those that disobey stay-at-home orders. "I know there's been a lot of discussion with the health unit around educating people," said CAO David Denault. "The education can only go so far. I think you're going to have to enforce much more strongly. The health unit itself is getting around to some of the areas where we've heard some of the complaints, like the malls. "Unfortunately, we're going to have to start patrolling areas like the toboggan hills and rinks," he added. "If people don't listen, we're going to have to ticket them. If numbers continue to rise as they're predicting, I think there will be a sterner side to enforcement." Until now, said Denault in his update to council this week, the approach was to educate and then enforce. Since Nov. 15, he said bylaw has issued 282 tickets and done 12 tows (non-COVID related). "We really don't want to do that to the public," said Denault. "But to be efficient and make sure we're taking care of our services, we need to do this. Please make sure you move your vehicles so we can get around and take care of the facilities." Coun. Jon Main wanted to know what the town planned for warming centres, considering public buildings are closed due to the stay-at-home orders. "Unfortunately, a lot of our warming centres are municipal facilities, which are not open," he said. "Is it our responsibility to provide warming centres?" Denault said that is one facet municipalities are struggling with. "It is one of the opportunities we have with the rec centre," he said. "We have been able to accommodate some individuals that have come there during frigid times. We'll continue to do that. We'll make sure we connect with our organizations in the community to understand that can be done. The more traditional facilities just aren't able to open." At the beginning of the meeting, Coun. Bill Gordon also asked what had become of the YMCA's request for town support in reopening its facility. "I know the YMCA had approached us without a financial ask, but with the indication that there would be something coming," he said. "It looks like we attempted to reach out to them and do something that didn't work out so I wonder if we could talk a little bit about that." Denault said all municipal CAOs had met up with the YMCA to discuss what they would need and to share with them options their municipalities may be able to bring forward with council approval. "There were no offers made," he said, adding he couldn't share any numbers due to a request of confidentiality by the Y. "At the end of the day, the YMCA determined they could best address their needs on their own. "We did leave them with the option that if they do require some assistance from the municipality, we can be engaged to help out," said Denault. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Friday he wanted it known that he had no plans to commit suicide in prison, as he issued a message of support to his followers on the eve of protests the authorities say are illegal. Navalny was detained on Sunday after flying home for the first time since being poisoned with what the West says was a military-grade nerve agent that Navalny says was applied to his underpants by state security agents. The 44-year-old lawyer, in a Moscow prison pending the outcome of four legal matters he describes as trumped up, accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering his attempted murder.
BRUCE COUNTY – Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce medical officer of health, addressed Bruce County council on Jan. 14 with an update on the COVID-19 situation including vaccinations. Arra said the most recent projections locally indicate the surge in cases over the holidays is over, and numbers are heading back to where they were, “with four to six or seven” cases per day reported. The surge had been expected, due to holiday gatherings. The situation across the province is completely different, Arra said. It shows a gradual but steady increase that does not corelate to the holidays or current lockdown, and is presently about 3,000 per day. “Fifty per cent of hospital ICUs are at capacity,” he said, adding that this is expected to continue for four to six weeks. As for the vaccine, “Today (Jan. 14) we received 200 doses.” Another 800 doses are expected to arrive the last week of January. Both are going to the long-term care sector, said Arra. That includes residents, staff and essential caregivers. The priority in the province, he said, has been “hot spots” – which Grey-Bruce definitely is not. County Coun. Anne Eadie, mayor of Kincardine, asked if it is true the general public probably will not be vaccinated until April or May. Arra confirmed it, stating the province plans to vaccinate in three phases, with the first phase, for the most vulnerable, completed by March, the second phase for essential workers following that, and the third phase being everyone else. “It’s estimated phases two and three will not be completed,” he said, and will end when the pandemic ends, when herd immunity is achieved. County Coun. Robert Buckle, mayor of South Bruce, asked if the vaccination will provide lifetime immunity. Arra answered that no one knows the answer to that one yet. At present, it seems likely the vaccine will be “somewhere between the flu and measles,” and will last between one and three years, rather like pertussis. County Coun. Luke Charbonneau asked when the vaccine “will be in arms” and why the stay-at-home order was needed in Grey-Bruce. The answer for the first part was easy – immediately, or as soon as is practical. The second part was more complicated. Strict lockdowns have proved effective in other jurisdictions, such as Australia and France. While the numbers in Grey-Bruce remain relatively low compared to the rest of the province, meaning a lockdown wouldn’t have been needed here “if we were an island.” However, the fact is we are not an island. Arra said others would have come to our area, bringing COVID-19 with them. Before the lockdown, hockey teams from outside the area were beginning to rent ice time here. Arra responded to a question from Warden Janice Jackson, mayor of South Bruce Peninsula, by saying it’s the Pfizer vaccine (the one that must be stored at extremely cold temperatures) that’s coming to Grey-Bruce, and all of it will be used as soon as possible, since more is coming by the time the second dose needs to be administered. , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
La pandémie et la pénurie de main-d’œuvre ont eu raison d’un autre commerce de la région. La quincaillerie Tremblay-Laroche, établie depuis plus de 25 ans à Saint-Gédéon, ne rouvrira après avoir fermé ses portes le printemps dernier, faute de personnel. Le bâtiment situé au 223, rue de Quen, a été mis en vente. Le personnel restant et l’inventaire ont été transférés à la succursale de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix, qui elle aussi vit des heures difficiles en ce qui a trait au personnel. « Malheureusement, on est obligé de fermer la succursale. Deux employés sont partis pendant la première vague de COVID le printemps dernier pour d’autres magasins et on n’a pas été capable de les remplacer », explique le propriétaire, Marc Tremblay. Pénurie de main-d’œuvre Marc Tremblay s’explique mal le fait que malgré un taux de chômage élevé, il soit si difficile de combler des postes aux deux succursales. En deux ans, même les ouvertures de poste pour le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix n’ont pas pris preneurs. « On a de la misère à combler malgré le fait qu’on dise qu’il y a beaucoup de personnes qui ne travaillent pas. Je ne comprends pas grand-chose là-dedans. Avec toutes les annonces qu’on a faites, on n’est pas capable de combler les besoins. On a essayé de toutes les manières. On a fait des parutions Facebook et ici au magasin et on ne réussit pas… », déplore-t-il Année mouvementée L’été dernier, les Québécois se sont adonnés aux travaux de rénovation. L’équipe de plus en plus restreinte du groupe Tremblay-Laroche a été mise à rude épreuve. « L’équipe a dû mettre les bouchées doubles. Avec deux personnes en moins, ça paraît. On a comblé le stock de Métabetchouan avec l’inventaire du magasin de Saint-Gédéon. Ça n’a pas été une année rose », ajoute Marc Tremblay. Questionné à savoir si une lueur d’espoir régnait toujours pour le magasin de Saint-Gédéon, le propriétaire a affirmé qu’il concentrait dorénavant ses efforts sur le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix. « On ne se fait pas d’illusions. On a mis le bâtiment à vendre », souligne-t-il. En novembre 2019, le groupe Tremblay-Laroche, alors affilié à BMR, avait quitté cette bannière pour joindre le groupe Castle en raison de désaccords. « BMR nous imposait des choses qu’on ne voulait pas. On ne se sentait plus chef dans notre propre magasin. Ils nous laissent acheter et faire ce qu’on veut », avait expliqué à l’époque Marc Tremblay. Plus d’un an plus tard, il se dit « très satisfait » de ce changement.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
HURON COUNTY – Huron County will host the annual Ontario West Coast Tourism Summit this year, virtually. The free, two-day event will concentrate on the tourism landscape pre- and post-COVID and rural tourism’s advantages. Tourism industry expert William Bakker of Destination Think will speak on Jan. 25 from 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Destination Think works with the most innovative tourism boards in the world, according to their website. They create vision, solve business challenges, and “execute brilliant, integrated campaigns.” His presentation will include tourism market trends focusing on the tourism landscape, pre-COVID, and post-COVID. Attendees will hear about destinations that are “re-imagining themselves with a goal of re-building, with both the economy and environment in mind,” according to a press release from Huron County. A facilitated breakout session will follow, which will focus on how Huron County’s tourism sector can work together towards a successful recovery from COVID-19. The second day of the summit will be held on Jan. 26, from 9 – 11:30 a.m. Director and Master Experience Crafter Chris Hughes, from BC Hughes, a tourism, management, and marketing company will share the advantages of rural tourism and how operators can use this advantage to match shifting tourism trends. Hughes will discuss the key elements needed to develop effective touring routes. He will also share how operators can adjust their own tourism experiences to become part of a regionally themed touring route. “The County remains dedicated to working collaboratively and supporting our vibrant tourism sector,” Warden Glen McNeil said in the press release. “Specifically, I want to thank the industry for the resiliency and innovation they have shown over the past year. Huron County tourism, and all of those that support it, are essential to the vitality of our county.” Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Malgré la pandémie, l’élan économique de Val-des-Sources ne s’essouffle pas. Après le début de la construction d’Alliance Magnésium et l’arrivée de plusieurs entreprises comme General Recycled en 2020, voilà que pour 2021 déjà plusieurs millions de dollars en investissements sont prévus. Les prochains mois verront d’ailleurs au moins deux nouvelles constructions s’ajouter dans le parc industriel. Concept Promet, acquis par l’entreprise Métal Pless de Plessisville en 2018, construira un nouveau bâtiment de plus de 30 000 pieds carrés sur la rue de l’Ardoise. Environ 3,5 millions de dollars seront investis pour la construction du bâtiment, sans compter l’achat de l’équipement. Concept Promet, qui fait de la peinture et l’assemblage de gratte à neige et d’équipements agricoles, emploi environ 45 personnes et la direction envisage ajouter une autre chaîne de production, ce qui créerait une dizaine d’emplois. « Il y a une grosse ouverture d’esprit de la part de la Ville et il y a un bel avantage de se construire là, souligne Ivan Boucher, adjoint à la direction. On est à Plessisville et ça nous amène un autre bassin de population aussi. » Les locaux laissés vacants par Concept Promet seront repris par ABS Remorques et agrandis de 27 000 pieds carrés. Pour ce faire, les investissements oscilleront entre 3,5 et 4 millions de $. Près d’une dizaine d’emplois seront créés à terme par ce projet. « On va déménager notre usine de soudage dans ces nouveaux locaux, indique François Gouin, président. On vend partout au Canada et un peu aux États-Unis. On veut raffermir notre position au Canada et être plus actifs sur l’exportation aux États-Unis. Parallèlement, on veut développer d’autres types de remorques. » Bulles du Nord, qui produit des jus de fruit naturels gazéifiés, et Distillerie Birster, qui fait du gin (voir autre texte), s’installent aussi à Val-des-Sources. « Quand quelqu’un a un projet, ça nous en prend beaucoup pour dire non, lance Martin Lafleur, directeur de la Corporation de développement socioéconomique de Val-des-Sources. On est aussi en train de mettre sur pied un projet pour développer et acquérir un bâtiment dédié aux écomatériaux. » Dans l’optique de favoriser les investissements, la Ville de Val-des-Sources offre aussi la possibilité de bâtir elle-même les installations pour ensuite les louer à une entreprise qui viendrait s’établir dans la région. « On leur charge un loyer et on leur donne la possibilité d’acheter dans trois, quatre, cinq ou six ans, quand ça leur adonne, résume M. Lafleur. On leur crédite le capital qu’ils ont déjà payé. On se met entre eux et la banque. On en a plusieurs qui ont acheté leur bâtiment de cette façon. » Écomatériaux Presque toutes les nouvelles entreprises de Val-des-Sources et de la MRC ont un point en commun, elles ont toutes un lien direct ou indirect avec l’environnement. « On mise sur les technologies environnementales, confirme Frédéric Marcotte, directeur général de la MRC. Ça fait partie de notre ligne directrice de notre stratégie de diversification économique. Les écomatériaux constituent un levier d’avenir pour le développement de la région. » Alliance Magnésium, qui exploite les haldes pour produire du magnésium, et Nature Fibres, qui produit des panneaux isolants à base de paille de chanvre industriel, sont quelques exemples d’entreprises qui exploitent des écomatériaux. « On prend un résidu et on lui donne une valeur tellement forte qu’il peut même surpasser des matériaux existants », explique M. Marcotte. La région est également l’hôte du Rendez-vous des écomatériaux qui se tient habituellement à l’automne. Diversification Avec tous ces investissements et ces nouvelles entreprises, la région a énormément diversifié son économie au cours des dernières années, mais il reste encore beaucoup de chemin à faire selon le DG de la MRC. « Une diversification économique à la suite d’une économie mono-industrielle de plus de 130 ans, ça ne se fait pas en sept ans, admet M. Marcotte. Si on me pose la question à savoir si la diversification économique est atteinte, c’est difficile de répondre positivement à cela. Par contre, les fondations de la diversification économique sur le long terme sont atteintes. Les secteurs d’activités, leur complémentarité, leur différence, le nombre d’entreprises et la diversité de la topologie d’emploi font en sorte qu’on est sur la bonne voie. » « Une diversification ce n’est pas que les entreprises qui sont implantées, c’est aussi la dynamique de l’économie de la région qui est à faire, résume-t-il. Il y a encore beaucoup de choses à construire et à attacher. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune