A Burk’s Falls man is hoping to help those who may be feeling isolated during the second provincial lockdown by bringing back good old-fashioned letter writing. Ryan Baptiste, 32, began the project shortly after the success of the letters to Santa Claus initiative he began before the holidays upon hearing the whisperings of another impending lockdown due to rising COVID-19 numbers. “We can see the emotional effects that lockdown can have on individuals,” said Baptiste, who graduated as an addictions and mental health counsellor in 2011. “We started this as a means to keep people connected and hopefully let them know that there are people out there that care about their well-being.” For the pen pals project, people can drop off a letter and Baptiste — along with two other volunteers, Nicole Byng who lives in Toronto, and Debbie Hope who lives in Almaguin — will reply. While counselling isn’t a full-time job for Baptiste, he said he cares deeply, and the effects of COVID-19 can be felt heavily across the profession. “More intake, referrals and virtual sessions with those who are struggling with the isolation is creating larger backlogs,” he said, adding that lockdowns, isolation and social distancing exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions or addictions. After seeing the success of Baptiste’s Santa mailbox, Penny Brandt, who runs a centre for healing arts at 195 Ontario St. in Burk’s Falls, reached out to him to offer him a spot in front of her office. Brandt shares office space with Yolande’s Hair Salon. “I loved what I saw Ryan do at Christmastime with the letters to Santa, and that really hits the heartstrings because of the children and how important it is,” said Brandt. “He has a councillor background, (but) he’s also understanding that there are some awfully lonely people out there that have nobody and sometimes people want to remain anonymous as well.” “So, when I saw that he was looking for a spot to put the mailbox on the main street it was like hey, and I checked with Yolande and she was fine with it, and I thought, this can only help,” she said, mentioning that everyone is suffering mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially in some way due to COVID-19. “The other thing, for me, is remembering that empathy is a starting point for actually creating a community and taking action like Ryan has just done,” Brandt said. “It is the start of change.” The COVID-19 pen pals mailbox can be found at 195 Ontario St. in front of I Am Centre for Healing Arts and Yolande’s Hair Salon or for those who don’t want to venture outside, they can email email@example.com. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
Should councillors be talking to the media independently? That was the second time in a week the matter had come up before a North Simcoe council, after it had been discussed at the Penetanguishene council Wednesday night. This time, it was Tay Township's deputy mayor that was asking if it was best for the mayor or chief administrative officer to respond to media requests when representing the municipality. Once again, the media request was a yearend survey sent out to all council members by MidlandToday's Community Editor Andrew Philips. "He didn't email it to council; he emailed it to all of us," said Coun. Jeff Bumstead. "I could see all the recipients. The way I took it is that they were looking for a specific response from all of council. I didn't see any harm in the questions. I didn't see anything specific that was going against the township. It was just the general feel of how I felt as a councillor." He then talked about a MidlandToday reporter reaching out to him for a story he had brought to council's attention (poppy masks being made by a local resident). "She had reached out and I asked the mayor about it," said Bumstead. "She was just looking for an opinion from me on a specific topic. The advice I got was that media is asking a question there's no problem is answering it." "If we want to clamp down and direct media to the mayor and CAO, I don't have a problem with it," he added. "If it's not okay for individual councillors to answer behalf of the township, then we can have it in the code of conduct." Fellow Coun. Paul Raymond also talked about what the integrity commissioner had outlined in the code of conduct policy. "We do have a right to an opinion as long as we make it clear it is our opinion and not the township and council as a whole," he said. "That is when the CAO or mayor come in. It's very important we take great measures to make sure that distinction is made. "As far as the other social media, I'm sure there will be other questions there," added Raymond. "We are allowed to be approached for our opinion but our opinion only." Coun. Mary Warnock said she had sought clarification on the survey, asking if it was to be based on personal opinions or a council view. "I did want to clarify that before I answered it," she said. "If it's a message coming from council or township as a whole, it should come from the CAO or mayor. You want your message to have some control and precision." CAO Lindsay Barron agreed that the councillors had raised some good points about distinguishing between an independent opinion and a township stance. "A clear distinction is if he/she is responding as an individual member of council or on behalf of the township," she said. "In the second case, it should be coming from the mayor or myself." Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle said maybe the next time a reporter reaches out to an individual councillor, he/she can seek direction from the CAO. "I would suggest we should contact the CAO to find out if we can speak to it individually," he said. That didn't sit well with Raymond. "I don't go to the CAO for permission on anything, with all due respect to the CAO," he said. "We are allowed to be individuals. If we're going to go on an endeavour like this, we give a heads-up to the CAO and mayor. If they feel it's not beneficial to the community on the whole, they can let us know. We all want betterment for the township and we all have different ideas of how that can be accomplished." The conversation then turned toward answering questions posed by residents. "A lot of times we get emails from customers/residents, what do we think as council is best direction?" said LaChapelle. Coun. Sandy Talbot shared her process around that. "What I always do is if I get an email, I will forward it to a staff member," she said. "It's worked for me for all these years and that's best practice when it comes to residential inquiries." Raymond said each situation is unique. "There's a lot of different types of communications from residents, sometimes it's a question, sometimes they're in a situation where they're at odds with staff," he said. "They approach us as councillors to try and intervene to get the two parties talking. I think that, also, is our role. At the end of the day, we're the bridge between residents and staff and the services they provide." Barron said she hoped residents would reach out to staff before taking matters to their councillor. "Often times, I get involved when the councillor gets involved," she said. "I'd like to see my position as facilitator before council intervenes. If the resident wants to talk to you after, by all means. As far as being copied on the response, I'd really like to see where we get to a point where a councillor forwards it to staff and lets staff handle it." Raymond said when residents reach out to him, it's after they've reached a dead-end with staff. "When the two parties get talking to each other, I will back out and just need to know it's been resolved," he said, adding he didn't think it was pertinent for councillors to get into the weeds of matters. "When I do talk to residents, they're not aware of the structure of staff," added Raymond. "If we had an opportunity to simplify that structure, to let them know which way to go, maybe that would simplify it." Then councillors discussed behaviour on social media. "It has to do with Facebook use so we don't get ourselves in a situation," said LaChapelle. Mayor Ted Walker said he would definitely like directions around that incorporated in the municipal code of conduct. "I have seen some instances where the line has been crossed," he said without mentioning specifics. "The unfortunate part of that is that those that don't use Facebook don't have a chance to give their opinion or correct any errors. I think discussions of that nature need to be held here and not on Facebook." All councillors agreed that the communications specialist should help prepare some do's and don't's for council surrounding social media use. "All they are is a tool to facilitate you," said Raymond. "We already have standards, a code of conduct, that as councillors we're supposed to follow wherever we are. It's easy when you're on social media to get dragged into a fight. You have to know when to stop." Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, indicated such an endeavour was already underway and would soon be brought to council's attention. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
An old roadbed in Conception Bay North is getting a new lease on life. Up until the 1970s, the road between Old Perlican and Bay de Verde was the main thoroughfare that connected the two communities. That road was phased out in the 1970s as the current road was put in. Now, decades later, the old roadbed is getting a facelift as a group of volunteers is restoring the old road into a multi-use trailway. “We thought we could go all the way through to Old Perlican,” said organizer Carl Riggs, who is from Bay de Verde. The idea for the trailway started as a conversation between friends, and it ballooned from there. Riggs decided he would take the idea to the councils of Bay de Verde and Old Perlican. They were supportive of the idea and things took off from there. “The support has been tremendous,” said Riggs. It’s been a whirlwind six weeks between work starting and the idea coming to fruition. Since work got underway on Jan. 11, between 80 and 100 people have contributed to clearing brush, rocks and other debris from the trail. There have been significant contributions from the towns of Old Perlican and Bay de Verde, who have sent various pieces of heavy equipment to help with the job. The business community has also chipped in, and there have been donations of equipment, time and money from people all over the province. “It is amazing how much work has been done in a short period of time,” said Bay de Verde Mayor Gerard Murphy. While the original motivation for the restoration of the old road was for use by all-terrain vehicles, the group believes there is ample room for hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and others to use the trail. When finished, it will connect to Bay de Verde’s Lazy Rock Walking Trail. “It is a little bit of an attraction for the whole area,” said Old Perlican Mayor Clifford Morgan. “It is a very, very nice initiative.” The work being conducted this winter by the group is just the start of things for them. Riggs said they want to install gazebos, rest areas and signage along the route in the future. There are also plans to work with the CBN T’railway group to connect their projects. The CBN group is working to clear and maintain the old railbed in the region. The hope is they will be able to connect and provide all-terrain vehicle users with the chance to go from Brigus Junction to Bay de Verde. “This is just the tip of the iceberg for us,” said Riggs. “Excited is not the word.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
NASHVILLE — As their state faced one of its toughest months of the pandemic, Tennesseans watched Gov. Bill Lee’s rare primetime address to see whether new public restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus might be coming. It was late December, and the state’s hospitals were bursting at the seams with virus patients. Spiraling caseloads placed Tennessee among the worst states in the nation per capita, medical experts were warning that the health care system could not survive another coronavirus spike, and Lee had been affected personally -- his wife had the virus and the governor himself was in quarantine. If ever there was a juncture to change course, the speech seemed like the time and place. But as he stood before the camera, the businessman-turned-politician declined to implement recommendations from the experts, instead announcing a soft limit on public gatherings while stressing once again that stopping the spread of COVID-19 was a matter of personal responsibility. Lee’s decision to stick to his approach has dismayed critics who say the state's situation would not be so dire if he had placed more faith in the government’s role in keeping people safe -- criticism he pushes back against as he keeps businesses open. The first term governor’s response has largely been in step with Republican governors in other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, which along with Tennessee have ranked among the worst in the country as case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations increase while the governors rebuff calls for new restrictions. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported 1,236 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks eighth in the country. One in every 187 people in Tennessee tested positive in the past week. “We don’t have to be here. We don’t have to continue this trend. We can do something about it,” Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Franklin primary care physician told reporters in a video conference Tuesday. Lee, whose office declined a request for an interview for this article, has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough, countering that he aggressively pushed for more expansive COVID-19 testing throughout the state during the early stages of the pandemic and arguing that sweeping mask requirements have become too political to become effective. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions, some of which have imposed them in Tennessee, particularly in more populated areas. According to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, about 69% of Tennesseans — but fewer than 30 of 95 counties — are under a face mask requirement. Those researchers found that counties that don’t require wearing masks in public are averaging COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Dr. Donna Perlin, a Nashville-based pediatric emergency medicine physician, sees mask-wearing and other precautions as basic government safety measures. “Just as we have requirements to stop at red lights, or for children to wear seatbelts, or bans on smoking at schools, so too must we require masks, because the refusal to wear masks is endangering our children and their families,” she wrote in a recent editorial. Despite the criticism, Lee hasn’t wavered from his vow never to close down restaurants, bars and retail stores after Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to lift businesses restrictions last year. He also has long advocated for schools to continue in-person learning and has sent school districts protective equipment for teachers and staffers. The governor is quick to point out the state’s swift COVID-19 vaccine rollout, praising Tennessee for being among the country’s leaders in distributing the immunizations. “In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a statement earlier this month, omitting that the state’s initial goal to vaccinate 200,000 residents got delayed because of shipping issues. The CDC reports that 3.7% of Tennessee’s population has been vaccinated, with more than 251,000 shots administered to date — making it among the top 10 states for administration rates. But community leaders and Democratic lawmakers have tried in vain to appeal to the governor in their campaign for a mask mandate and other public health regulations. “What we are doing now is NOT working!” Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “We need a mask mandate, increased testing and contact tracing, and need to consider some business closures. Our hospitals are at the brink! We must act to save lives!” Some have even appealed to Lee's Christian faith, which he regularly touted on the campaign trail and references while governing. “Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour, and taking care of yourself as a Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the Rev. Jo Ann Barker recently wrote to Lee, speaking for the nonpartisan Southern Christian Coalition. “A statewide mask mandate is caring for the community God gives you to care for. If that isn’t important to you, Governor Lee, then what is?” ___ Associated Press writers Jonathan Mattise and Travis Loller contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press
GREY-BRUCE – Grey Bruce Public Health will be receiving the first part of its shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine this week, earlier than had been expected. The remainder of the shipment is due to arrive the last week of January. Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health, said the vaccine has been earmarked for long-term care – residents, staff and any other essential workers. In Grey-Bruce, what will happen is the vaccine will be administered to long-term care staff in stages, about 10 per cent at a time. Arra explained that this will ensure there will be enough staff to care for residents. The vaccine can lead to symptoms such as fever, which would require a staff member to isolate. This is a somewhat different situation from what’s been happening in cities where the vaccine has been distributed through hospitals. Arra explained that when the vaccine arrives in Grey-Bruce, it will be transported to the long-term care homes. While the news of the earlier shipment is excellent, it also means the test to showcase the hub concept proposed by Arra and staff will have to wait for a later shipment. Arra said receipt of the 1,000-dose shipment is “the first step in the right direction” even though the plan isn’t yet being put to the test. He said there are actually two plans that have been proposed to the province for Grey-Bruce. The first would involve distribution by traditional routes. That’s basically what will happen with this week’s shipment. The second is for mass immunization using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which requires storage at very low temperatures. “We asked for the Pfizer vaccine,” said Arra. One reason is others will want the Moderna vaccine, which does not need to be kept extremely cold. And Grey-Bruce is not in a grey or red zone, but yellow. “We are low priority,” he said, adding, “we are a victim of our own success.” The plan would serve as a pilot project for an area that’s a mix of rural and small urban – like most of Ontario. The successful implementation of the plan would be great news for both Grey-Bruce and the rest of the province, since it would free up health care resources to assist in other areas. The project has the support of municipalities, health care, and private industry. Mass immunization with the Pfizer vaccine would utilize the freezers and expertise provided by community partners Chapman’s Ice Cream and Bruce Power. It would be administered at central locations – the health unit in Owen Sound and Davidson Centre in Kincardine. Two other locations are also being looked at, said Arra – the Bayshore in Owen Sound (not the full-scale field hospital located there, which may well be required for use as a hospital) and the P&H Centre in Hanover (not necessarily the ice surface). Arra said the mass immunization would put “the last nail in the coffin of the pandemic.” A task force has been formed regarding vaccine distribution. Mass immunization would require health-care volunteers. Arra said the province is providing support in that regard. According to the province’s plan released before Christmas and now well underway, vaccine will be administered in three phases, beginning with health-care workers at two test sites in Toronto and Ottawa and continuing with residents of long-term care and retirement homes, public health units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and First Nations populations. Phase two would expand to health care workers including EMS, residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions, and additional First Nations communities. Phase three would occur when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wants to be immunized. Arra said the situation is complex, but would be simplified if there were ample supplies of the vaccine. The initial role of the vaccine is to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. That means vaccination of staff and people at high risk of becoming extremely ill with the virus. Once that is accomplished, the next goal is herd immunity which would require about 75 per cent of the population to be immunized. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Si Maya Imbeault ne peut aider qu’une seule personne, en publiant ses photos et des messages prônant l’importance de la diversité corporelle sur Instagram, elle en sera ravie. En s’affichant, la jeune femme de 19 ans de Dolbeau-Mistassini, qui vit maintenant à Jonquière, souhaite simplement que d’autres se sentent mieux dans leur corps. Selon l’étudiante en éducation à l’enfance, il n’est pas facile pour personne de se sentir bien dans son corps. Celle qui utilise l’application Instagram depuis cinq ans tient à aider, à sa façon, les jeunes filles de son âge. Son objectif : normaliser les différents types de corps et montrer aux gens qu’ils sont beaux tels qu’ils sont. Elle propose donc un autre modèle de beauté, alors que la majorité des photos montrent de jeunes femmes très minces. « Je trouve ça important que les gens voient qu’il n’y a pas qu’un type de personne qui représente la beauté dans la vie », rapporte-t-elle, dans un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Progrès. Un peu plus d’un millier d’internautes sont abonnés à la page de Maya Imbeault, @maymayimbo, et la jeune femme reçoit souvent le compliment qu’elle est courageuse de s’affirmer de la sorte. Elle ne fait toutefois que publier des photos, comme toutes les autres femmes, plus minces, qui ne reçoivent pas ce genre de commentaires. Néanmoins, elle se considère chanceuse de recevoir des commentaires positifs, dans une très forte proportion. « Je reçois beaucoup de commentaires différents. Il y en a qui sont impressionnés, d’autres qui trouvent ça inspirant et certains me trouvent dégueulasse. Il y en a encore trop qui font des remarques corporelles négatives. Mais la plupart des gens qui me suivent, ils le font parce qu’ils le veulent, et ce n’est donc pas pour me bitcher », témoigne-t-elle. Confiance en soi Quand on regarde le profil de la jeune femme, elle semble respirer la confiance en soi. Selon elle, c’est la danse, surtout les compétitions, qui lui a permis de développer cette force. Elle a pratiqué le sport pendant plus de 10 ans. Malgré des costumes parfois révélateurs, la danseuse ne portait pas attention aux corps des autres. Elle se concentrait plutôt sur sa performance. « J’ai toujours été plus ronde que tout le monde. Ç’a toujours été une normalité chez moi. J’avais un grand talent dans mon corps à moi et je ne me posais pas de questions par rapport à ça. Je ne me demandais pas si mon corps était correct ou pas. Moi, je l’ai toujours trouvé correct », continue Maya Imbeault. Son entourage l’a aussi beaucoup aidée à garder cette confiance en elle. Bien accompagnée, elle n’a jamais souffert d’intimidation sérieuse, si bien qu’au secondaire, les rares commentaires sur son physique ne l’atteignaient pas vraiment. Pour ceux qui aimeraient se sentir plus en confiance, Maya Imbeault avoue qu’il n’y a pas de recette magique, que la confiance en soi se gagne avec les années. Elle recommande de se détacher des commentaires et des comparaisons avec les autres. « Il faut aussi que tu te trouves un modèle dans la vie, qui est semblable à toi. Si cette personne est belle avec son corps, qui ressemble au tien, c’est que tu es beau, toi aussi », conseille la jeune femme. Elle ajoute qu’il y aura toujours des personnes pour dire des commentaires sur les autres, et qu’il ne faut pas s’y arrêter. Un style unique Les abonnés de Maya Imbeault sont habitués de la voir dans des looks urbains, extravagants et colorés. Cette dernière souhaitait d’ailleurs devenir designer de mode, avant de changer d’idée, pour se diriger vers l’éducation à l’enfance. Toutefois, la mode a toujours été une grande passion pour la fashionista et continue de l’être. Son style original a d’ailleurs été remarqué par plusieurs entreprises du domaine. Forever 21 Plus et Fashion Nova Curve, des entreprises mondiales de la mode pour jeunes filles, qui sont suivies par des milliers d’abonnées, ont republié des photos de la Dolmissoise, sur leur stories ou sur leur fil d’actualité, ce qui la rend très fière. Pour la suite, la jeune femme, qui réside aujourd’hui à Jonquière, tient à poursuivre sa mission, sans trop regarder le nombre de ses abonnés ou ses mentions « J’aime ». « Quand je publie un message, je ne le fais pas pour obtenir 40 000 abonnés ou 10 000 “J’aime”. S’il y a sept personnes qui se sentent mieux et qui l’apprécient, c’est pour ces sept-là que je le publie », souligne-t-elle. \+ OCCUPATION DOUBLE PEUT EN FAIRE PLUS L’émission Occupation Double a fait couler beaucoup d’encre, cet automne, au sujet de la diversité corporelle. Pour la première fois, une candidate plus ronde avait été choisie pour faire partie de l’émission, la Saguenéenne Julie Munger. Maya Imbeault, qui a ce sujet à coeur, ne considère pas que l’on doit des éloges à l’émission. « Je ne crois pas que de choisir une femme ronde, avec dix autres mannequins, c’est de la diversité corporelle. Il n’y avait aussi que des garçons pareils », laisse-t-elle tomber. Elle a toutefois grandement aimé voir la Saguenéenne à l’écran et l’a trouvée très belle. Elle est heureuse que Julie Munger n’ait pas eu peur de s’affirmer et qu’elle ait profité de son expérience au maximum, à ses yeux de téléspectatrice. Elle reconnaît que cette présence a apporté un point de diversité corporelle, mais estime que l’émission devra en faire plus pour bien intégrer cet enjeu.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
It was easy as one, two, three. On Thursday, the same day Ontario entered a province-wide stay-at-home order, leaving the country couldn’t have been easier. Just pick up the phone or log into the Air Canada website. Find a sunny destination outside the country. And voila, a flight from Pearson International Airport to Miami could be booked without a hitch. That’s exactly what The Pointer attempted Thursday despite Ontario’s local travel restrictions in place until at least February 11. How could that be? Why are residents allowed to travel to Florida, or many other overseas destinations, but they can’t visit their own family just a few blocks away? Most would assume, with a pandemic raging and daily case counts continually reaching new highs, that driving to the airport during a province-wide stay-home order would be hard and barriers in place would make booking travel difficult. This is not the case. Airports, like stores, have increased their COVID-19 protocols, but have not put steps in place to discourage travel. Much of the travel industry including airlines like Air Canada is still operating as if the pandemic is under control, requiring mask wearing, testing and quarantining but encouraging residents to still go on vacation. Questions about symptoms, plenty of hand sanitizer and the odd thermometer have been put into the mix, yet Ontario airports, including Pearson in Mississauga, aren’t subject to anything you wouldn’t see at the grocery store. On Wednesday evening, when the Province finally unveiled the details of its stay-at-home order, this was made clear. Nestled among the list of essential reasons to leave the house — exercise, groceries and medical trips — was another option: travel to an airport. During the lockdown it is not the place of police or bylaw officers in Ontario to ask where exactly someone’s eventual destination from an airport will be. As a result, a trip from the quiet streets of Peel, to the airport then into the sky and, eventually, onto a beach, remains firmly within the rules. “There are currently no legal barriers to getting on a plane to the U.S. from Pearson, nor have there been since the start of the pandemic,” Ambarish Chandra, associate professor of economic analysis and policy at the University of Toronto, who lists COVID-19 border closures in Canada among his areas of expertise, told The Pointer. “It's not clear that the Province has the power to curtail Canadians' right to foreign travel without suspending their Charter rights.” Over the holiday season, plenty of politicians took advantage of the loophole. Kamal Khera (Liberal MP Brampton West) and Rod Phillips, the former PC finance minister, were among those caught out and publicly criticized. One of the questions raised when politicians across the country were caught flying abroad during the holiday season was the issue of entitlement. While those who can afford such luxuries are still able to get on a plane, many suffering financially because of the pandemic or even before, can't even plan a local trip because of the stay-home order. It creates a two-tier reality, critics have said, and many wealthier Canadians have simply paid to avoid the recommendations while putting others at risk. While the trips demonstrated poor decision making and a selfish attitude toward the rules, the same holidays can still be booked by everyday Ontarians. Public health agencies are begging people not to, but the rules do not actually prohibit it. Booking a flight on the Air Canada website, for example, you would be hard pressed to find evidence of the pandemic that has claimed more than 5,400 lives in Ontario alone. A small, green bar across the top of the website offers answers to the question, “Where can I travel right now?” but otherwise things look the same. On Thursday, The Pointer searched for flights from Toronto Pearson Airport to Miami on Friday, January 22 through Air Canada to understand the process. In the various stages of booking the flight, reminders about flexible tickets and changes to the in-flight meal system were the only hints of the public health crisis playing out across the world. Travel to the United States from January 26 will require a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours, while the same rules apply to those travelling or returning to Canada, along with a mandatory 14 day quarantine. These rules do not stop travel or prescribe essential reasons, but do add an additional step to the process. “Other than our regular requirements (i.e. travel documents in order) we do not have any restrictions,” Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for Air Canada told The Pointer, referencing the fact federal or provincial governments may have a different response. They didn’t. “The Province does not have the legal authority to prohibit international travel,” Ivana Yelich, director of media relations for Premier Doug Ford, told The Pointer. Yelich referenced numerous comments by Ford supporting increased border restrictions for those entering Canada. “International travel is solely the responsibility of the federal government.” “The Premier’s message is simple, stay home,” she added, when asked if Ford supported additional restrictions on outgoing travel. “We are asking Ontarians to avoid all non-essential travel at this time. Any restrictions on outgoing or incoming travel is the responsibility of the federal government.” The federal government did not return a request for comment in time for publication. The Pointer also phoned Air Canada’s booking call centre to specifically ask if there were any barriers or advisories against travelling out of Peel Region, or anywhere else in Ontario, to sit on a beach in Miami. The airline’s booking line, which also handles other customer support, was clogged, with a wait time of 56 minutes on Thursday afternoon, hours after the stay-at-home order came into effect. Eventually, an agent explained the U.S. and Canadian rules around receiving a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of flying, but said that was “basically the only requirement”. There was no advice offered against travelling or about the dangers of spreading COVID-19 through discretionary trips. “I'd be surprised if the federal government were to institute any ban on foreign travel either.” Chandra said. “The best they can do is discourage foreign travel which is already happening, both from explicit recommendations and from the need to quarantine for two weeks upon return.” In short, there is nothing to stop international travel by Canadians as COVID-19 fatigue and the dragging winter test people’s patience. Like so many of the COVID-19 protocols governing residents in Peel, it is about appealing to people’s better nature and commitment to flattening the curve. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Public health and elected officials are asking people to stay home and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. “With the Provincial Stay at Home Order in effect, it is crucial that residents not leave their homes for anything other than the essentials, like groceries, medical appointments or exercise,” Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health, told The Pointer. “This means cancelling or postponing all non-essential activities or going virtual where possible. I know this is frustrating and it’s been a long year and we have all sacrificed a lot. With the arrival of [the] vaccine in Peel, let’s keep pushing and beat COVID-19 together.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
After being "overwhelmed" with 911 calls on the latest pandemic restrictions, Windsor police have provided more information about how they will enforce the rules. The police service said officers won't enter homes, stop cars or people for the sole purpose of enforcing the stay-at-home order and provincial emergency. Further, no one is required to carry proof that they are going to work, the police service said in a statement Friday. If an officer has "reasonable grounds" to think that someone has violated the Reopening Ontario Act or the emergency declaration, officers can ask for ID in order to issue a fine or summons. Failing to properly identify yourself can lead to a fine or obstruction charges. "We will continue to monitor for COVID-19 compliance and respond to COVID-19-related complaints, as required. We will undertake enforcement actions, as necessary, under the legislation," the police service stated. New order sparks questions, criticism Under the stay-at-home order that took effect last Thursday, people can only leave their homes for essential reasons. There is a long list of exceptions, including going out for exercise or essential work, buying groceries and picking up prescriptions. Under the new order, officers can order people attending gatherings to go home, close any building where they believe an illegal event is taking place, and ask for the name and address of anyone they think is committing an offence. Charges can be laid through a ticket or summons to appear in court. The minimum fine for violating provincial gathering rules is $750. For those organizing illegal gatherings, there's a minimum fine of $10,000 and up to a year in jail. Within Windsor and across the province, the new rules have led to questions about how law enforcement will be ensuring compliance. They've also prompted concerns that people from visible minority groups could be disproportionately targeted by enforcement efforts. Police see uptick in 911 calls Windsor police have asked the public not to call 911 regarding the stay-at-home order, saying operators have been "overwhelmed" with calls. On Friday, the police service said it had received 200 non-emergency and 911 calls related to COVID-19 and the new order since Tuesday. "Any call to 911 that is not an emergency can take precious seconds away from a person trying to get through on 911 for a true emergency, where seconds may count for them," police said in an emailed statement.
TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel's education minister says he is banning groups that call Israel an “apartheid state” from lecturing at schools — a move that targets one of the country's leading human rights groups after it began describing both Israel and its control of the Palestinian territories as a single apartheid system. The explosive term, long seen as taboo and mostly used by the country's harshest critics, is vehemently rejected by Israel's leaders and many ordinary Israelis. Education Minister Yoav Galant tweeted late on Sunday that he had instructed the ministry’s director general to “prevent the entry of organizations calling Israel ‘an apartheid state’ or demeaning Israeli soldiers from lecturing at schools.” “The Education Ministry under my leadership raised the banner of advancing Jewish, democratic and Zionist values and it is acting accordingly,” he said. It was not immediately clear whether he had the authority to ban speakers from schools. In a report released last week, the rights group B’Tselem said that while Palestinians live under different forms of Israeli control in the occupied West Bank, blockaded Gaza, annexed east Jerusalem and within Israel itself, they have fewer rights than Jews in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. B'Tselem said it would not be deterred by the minister's announcement and that despite it, the group gave a lecture on the subject via videocall to a school in the northern city of Haifa on Monday. “B’Tselem is determined to keep with its mission of documenting reality, analyzing it, and making our findings publicly known to the Israeli public, and worldwide,” it said in a statement. Adalah, an Arab legal rights group, said it had appealed to the country's attorney general to cancel Galant's directive, saying it was made without the proper authority and that it was intended to “silence legitimate voices.” Israel passed a law in 2018 preventing lectures or activities in schools by groups that support legal action being taken against Israeli soldiers abroad. The law was apparently drafted in response to the work of Breaking the Silence, a whistleblower group for former Israeli soldiers who oppose policies in the occupied West Bank. It was not clear if Galant's decree was rooted in the 2018 law. Israel has long presented itself as a thriving democracy. Its own Arab citizens, who make up about 20% of its population of 9.3 million, have citizenship rights, but they often suffer from discrimination in housing and other spheres. Arab citizens of Israel have representatives in parliament, serve in government bureaucracy and work in various fields alongside Jewish Israelis. Israel seized east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war — lands that are home to nearly 5 million Palestinians and which the Palestinians want for a future state. B’Tselem and other rights groups argue that the boundaries separating Israel and the West Bank vanished long ago — at least for Israeli settlers, who can freely travel back and forth, while their Palestinian neighbours require permits to enter Israel. Israel withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but imposed a blockade after the Palestinian militant Hamas group seized power there two years later. It considers the West Bank “disputed” territory whose fate should be determined in peace talks with the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, the autonomy government for its Palestinian residents. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967 in a move not recognized internationally and considers the entire city its unified capital. Most Palestinians in east Jerusalem are Israeli “residents,” but not citizens with voting rights. Israel adamantly rejects the term apartheid, saying the restrictions it imposes in Gaza and the West Bank are temporary measures needed for security. Most Palestinians in the West Bank live in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority, but those areas are surrounded by Israeli checkpoints and Israeli soldiers can enter at any time. Israel has full control over 60% of the West Bank. B’Tselem argues that by dividing up the territories and using different means of control, Israel masks an underlying reality that roughly 7 million Jews and 7 million Palestinians live under a single system with vastly unequal rights. Tia Goldenberg, The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A petition to recall the chair of the Anchorage Assembly for failing to cancel an August meeting because of pandemic emergency regulations is scheduled be put to district voters on the April ballot. The petition to recall chair Felix Rivera was certified by the city clerk Friday, Anchorage Daily News reported. The petition included the required 2,735 signatures of voters from Anchorage’s District 4, the clerk’s office said in a letter to sponsor Russell Biggs. The required number is 25% of the votes cast for the seat in the April 2020 election during which Rivera was elected. The decision on the recall petition can be appealed to Alaska Superior Court, the letter said. The certified petition is expected to be presented to the Anchorage Assembly at its Jan. 26 meeting. The next regular election is April 6, which is within the 75-day window required to hold a recall vote following the assembly’s receipt of the petition. The petition claims Rivera failed to perform his duties as chair when he did not halt an August assembly meeting after another member said the gathering may have exceeded capacity restrictions under a pandemic emergency order. Rivera maintains the recall is “frivolous” and said he believes the attempt will die in court. “I remain confident that it’s not even going to get on the ballot, but we will see,” Rivera said. A group supporting Rivera plans to file a lawsuit against the Municipality of Anchorage and Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones for approving the petition. The recall effort has support among a group of residents upset with the assembly’s recent actions involving pandemic management — including its backing of the acting mayor’s emergency orders and a vote to approve purchases of buildings for homeless and treatment services. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
A major Saint John employer is set to shut down this month, when Saputo Inc. wraps up milk processing at its north end plant, affecting 60 jobs. The former Baxter's Dairy plant opened in 1931 and was purchased by Saputo in 2001. Saputo offers products under a multitude of brands, including Baxter, Cracker Barrel and Scotsburn. Almost a year ago, the company announced its intention to close. John MacKenzie, a Saint John city councillor whose ward includes the plant, says the imminent closure will be difficult for the neighbourhood. "It's been around for 90 years," said MacKenzie. "A lot of people have gained employment through that facility. A lot of history … it's really heartbreaking, devastating, for families when a business closes its doors." Dairy farmers hurt too The closure will not only affect the employees at the plant but also local dairy farmers, who had milk processed at the plants. Paul Gaunce, chair of Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, said the producers will now have to send milk to Nova Scotia or Quebec for processing at their own expense. Gaunce said there won't be any changes to the price of milk because of the changes, but he's still not happy to see the plant shuttered. "I'm very, you know, disappointed because you need processing to keep your industry supported," said Gaunce. "When we lose processing, it just hurts everybody." Saputo earnings fell When the closure was announced last year Saputo said the move was made in an effort to "right size" operations after net earnings for the company dropped by 42 per cent. The company said employees not offered relocation would be given severance packages. MacKenzie said he's confident laid-off workers will find work in the city. "I was looking online this week and I noticed that there were over 290 jobs available," said MacKenzie. "There's opportunities there." MacKenzie said he hasn't heard about any plans for the soon-to-be unoccupied plant, the property is prime for development. "If they sold the property it would make a great spot for some affordable housing with the school right next door and a park behind them and grocery stores within a block," said MacKenzie.
Lorne Head fell into volunteer firefighting almost by accident. In February 2010, a fire ripped through the fire hall in Baie Verte and destroyed all that was inside, including the department’s two pumper trucks. The department got a replacement vehicle from the west coast, but there was a problem. No one in the department had air brake qualifications and there wasn’t anyone to drive the vehicle. That’s where Head comes in. An employee with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, he could operate a vehicle with air brakes, and he agreed to temporarily come onboard. Head has now spent 11 years on the fire department in Baie Verte, the last six of which have been as the town’s fire chief. Lately, he’s been thinking about the future of firefighting in the region and the challenges he faces. One of those is numbers. His department is getting older, and in the last year the department has lost members as they moved away. Right now, the Baie Verte department is down to 21 members. With work commitments, there are 10 to 12 firefighters available for fire calls during the workday. “It is a nervous few minutes to see who is going to respond to the call,” said Head. The challenges facing rural firefighting and how to best navigate those hindrances will be the subject of an upcoming research project being done through a collaboration between the Marine Institute and the province’s fire commissioner's office. It is being funded by a $54,500 grant from the International Grenfell Association, along with contributions from both the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Both of those contributions are $10,000 each. The two-year project will examine firefighting strategies and equipment used in volunteer firefighting departments, with an eye on declining populations. At the end there will be recommendations forwarded to departments on how they could best deal with issues through new firefighting methods and limiting risk to the community. “Our role is to gather the information,” said Elizabeth Sanli, a researcher with the Marine Institute’s ocean safety research unit and the project lead. “We’re looking for helpful strategies and helpful tools.” The project will be broken down into three phases, the first of which will have researchers delving into the subject through journal articles, previous research done by firefighting organizations and other documents relevant to what they’re looking to address. They will focus on literature that focuses on challenges faced by other coastal and northern regions with dwindling firefighter numbers. “We want to make (fire departments) effective and as efficient as possible,” said Sanli. From there, in the second phase, the group will formulate the strategies and equipment they’ve identified in the first phase. This could include examining things such as how the number of firefighters and the weather may effect each strategy. The results of the research will be published, and recommendations will be made to communities in the final phase of the project. One strategy Head believes will work is a focus on the regionalization of fire departments to maximize the number of firefighters in any particular region. It also maximizes the equipment necessary and allows the different departments to pursue other complementary goals. Many departments already pledge to help out neighbouring ones, but Head’s idea could mean stronger numbers for a singular department. “I think one of the reasons regional fire departments have to start working is that you have to be able to draw from other towns,” said Head. “Other towns helping us and we’re helping other towns.” Guy Oakley, the fire chief with the New-Wes-Valley Volunteer Fire Department, had an idea that could work with any form of regionalization. He says the province could look at forming a paid regional fire chief position in areas that take on regionalization. Oakley’s department already works well with other fire departments in Bonavista North, he says, but such a position may help with the organization of that work. “I could see that working and making things better that way,” said Oakley. Justice and Public Safety Minister Steve Crocker said he is looking forward to seeing the results of the project. A former firefighter in Heart’s Delight-Islington, he was one of the younger members then and knows how some departments struggle with their aging members. He says the research project will prove valuable in providing a roadmap for how the province helps fire departments through any future challenges. “It’s a strategy,” said Crocker. “It is, how do we provide safety to people in the future.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Global News correspondent Mike Le Couteur is following the developments around U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on his first day in office.
Canada's economy will hit a major roadblock during the first quarter of 2021 before gaining momentum in the next quarter, according to economists in a Reuters poll who said the country's GDP would reach its pre-pandemic growth levels within a year. Although economic activity had recovered partially from a record drop - 7.5% in Q1 and 38.1% in Q2 - in the first half of 2020, it took another hit after a resurgence in coronavirus infections led to renewed tight containment measures. The Jan. 11-18 Reuters poll of over 40 economists predicted the economy, which grew a record annualized 40.5% in the third quarter of 2020, expanded 3.8% in the fourth quarter, a third consecutive downgrade.
Budgeting is a pain. But what’s more painful is a bill you can’t easily pay, debt that costs a fortune or not having enough money to retire. Fortunately, you can have a useful, working budget without watching every penny. Automation, technology and a few simple guidelines can keep you on track. The following approach works best if you have reasonably steady income that comfortably exceeds your basic expenses. If your income isn’t steady or doesn’t cover much more than the basics, you may need to track your spending more closely. Also, no budget in the world can fix a true income shortfall, where there’s not enough coming in to cover your basic bills. If that’s the case, you need more income, fewer expenses or outside help. One place to start your search for aid is 211.org, which provides links to charitable and government resources in many communities. Otherwise, though, you can craft a spending plan with the following steps. START WITH YOUR MUST-HAVES Must-have costs include housing, utilities, food, transportation, insurance, minimum debt payments and child care that allows you to work. Using the 50/30/20 budget, these costs ideally would consume no more than 50% of your after-tax income. That leaves 30% for wants (entertainment, clothes, vacations, eating out and so on) and 20% for savings and extra debt payments. A budgeting app or your last few credit card and bank statements can help you determine your must-have costs. The more these expenses exceed that 50% mark, the harder you may find it to make ends meet. For now, you can compensate by reducing what you spend on wants. Eventually, you can look for ways to reduce some of those basic expenses, boost your income or both. “After tax,” by the way, means your income minus the taxes you pay. If other expenses are deducted from your paycheque, such as health insurance premiums or 401(k) contributions, add those amounts to your take-home pay to determine your after-tax income. If you don’t have a steady job or are self-employed, forecasting your after-tax income can be tougher. You can use a previous year’s tax return or make an educated guess about the minimum income you expect to make this year. A withholding calculator can help you determine what you’re likely to have left after taxes. AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN Automatic transfers can put many financial tasks on autopilot, reducing the effort needed to achieve goals. If you don’t automate anything else, automate your retirement savings to ensure you’re saving consistently. Also consider saving money in separate accounts — often called “savings buckets” — to cover big, non-monthly expenses such as insurance premiums, vacations and car repairs. Online banks typically allow you to set up multiple savings accounts without requiring minimum balances or charging fees. You can name these accounts for different goals, and automate transfers into those accounts so the money is ready when you need it. My family typically has eight to 12 of these savings accounts at our online bank. I figure out how much I want to have saved by a certain date, divide by the number of months until that date and send the resulting amount, via automated monthly transfers, from our checking account. MANAGING WHAT’S LEFT Return to your after-tax monthly income figure. Subtract your must-have expenses, your contributions to retirement and savings accounts, and any extra debt payments you plan to make consistently. What’s left is your spending money for the month. (Nothing left? Try winnowing some of those must-haves or set less ambitious savings or debt pay-down goals.) In the olden days, you might have put cash in an envelope and used it for your spending money. Once the envelope was empty, you were supposed to stop spending. Some people still do that, but in today’s digital, contactless world, you might prefer other approaches. The easiest would be to put all your spending on a single credit card that’s dedicated to this purpose and paid in full every month. (And since you’re paying in full, consider using a cash back or other rewards card to get some extra benefit from your spending.) Check your balance every few days or set up alerts to let you know when you’re approaching your spending limit for the month. To protect your credit score, you can make payments periodically throughout the month so your balance stays low compared to your credit limit. Alternatively, you could use more than one card, a debit card or a spending app that’s tied to your checking account, such as Venmo, PayPal or Zelle. A budget app or spreadsheet can help keep you on track. You also could consider setting up a separate checking account just for this spending. Again, many online banks offer checking accounts without minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Your budget won’t be perfect and you’ll have to make adjustments as you go. But at least you, and your money, will be headed in the right direction. ____________________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Budgeting 101: How to Budget Money http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-budgeting Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
La MRC de Témiscamingue prévoit la participation à la mise sur pied d’une entente tripartite entre la Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SÉPAQ), la communauté de Kebaowek et la MRCT, quant à des travaux de décontamination à effectuer, entre autres à la pointe Opémican. « Cette entente vise des travaux de décontamination à effectuer, entre autres à la pointe Opémican et ce, afin de faciliter la collaboration de toutes les parties dans ce dossier. La communauté de Kebaowek a un grand intérêt pour assumer la réalisation de ces travaux. Cette communauté travaille activement à développer les compétences de ses organisations et de ses membres, afin de participer à la prospérité du territoire témiscamien » nous fait savoir la Préfète de la MRC de Témiscamingue, madame Claire Bolduc. « Il est de la volonté de la Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SÉPAQ) de mettre en place des ententes de cette nature, ici en tripartie avec la communauté de Kebaowek et la MRC de Témiscamingue » a-t-elle ajouté. Responsabilités et conscience La préfère de la MRCT estime qu’il faut un engagement très sérieux et responsable de la part de toutes les parties prenantes afin que cette entente soit fonctionnelle et opérationnelle. « C’est innovateur comme mode de fonctionnement, bien sûr mais comme il s’agit d’une entente où les rôles et responsabilités de chaque partie sont clairement précisés, il y a peu de risque pour que l’entente ne se réalise pas. Cela dit, pour chaque partie, le suivi de ses responsabilités devra être effectué avec la plus grande attention, ce dont sont conscientes chacune des parties » nous a-t-elle expliqué. Quel rôle pour la SÉPAQ ? À noter, que dans le cadre de cette entente, la SÉPAQ aura pour mandat la gestion de l'entente auprès des autorités gouvernementales (autorisations, permis), l'embauche des firmes professionnelles en soutien, le support aux travaux en lien avec les enjeux d'exploitation et de caractérisation du milieu naturel, la reddition de comptes et les suivis des déboursés auprès des différents parties ou fournisseurs, ainsi que la surveillance du chantier. Kebaowek : Un maître d’œuvre ! Madame Claire Bolduc, précise que « Kebaowek agira comme maître d'œuvre du chantier incluant réalisation du segment de projets qui leur est confié selon les normes et directives requises, assurer une cohésion dans la réalisation du chantier en vertu du calendrier établi, embaucher et superviser toutes les ressources et entrepreneurs en lien direct avec le projet confié ». La MRCT comme gardiennage de chantier La MRC de Témiscamingue, selon la Préfète, devra s'assurer de la bonne réalisation du projet de concert avec Kebaowek, assurer de bonnes retombées pour la communauté et la région, impliquer l'expertise de la MRC dans le support à la coordination du projet, soumettre à la Sépaq tout risque identifiée pouvant avoir un impact sur la réalisation du projet. « De manière plus précise, on souhaite confier à la MRC, le gardiennage du chantier (terrestre et nautique), les aspects de gestion de la circulation (signalisation et autre) hors chantier ainsi que de proposer une liste de destination en région pouvant assumer le gîte et le couvert du personnel affecté au chantier » a-t-elle conclu. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
Le tiers des déplacements des Lavallois (34 %) dans une journée les amène ailleurs qu’à Laval, ce qui en fait les résidents les plus mobiles du Grand Montréal. Voilà ce qui ressort de la dernière enquête Origine-Destination, l’une des plus importantes études de transport au Québec. Les Longueillois arrivent deuxième à ce chapitre alors que 29 % de leurs déplacements quotidiens les conduisent au-delà des limites de la 5e plus grande ville du Québec, suivis des résidents des couronnes sud (27 %) et nord (20 %). Sans surprise, les Montréalais ferment la marche, eux dont 89 % des déplacements se limitent à leur île. Menée à l’automne 2018, cette enquête quinquennale ventile les motifs des déplacements des résidents sortants sur une période donnée de 24 heures. C’est ainsi qu’on apprend que 6 Lavallois sur 10 (59,4 %) sortent de l’île Jésus pour aller travailler. Pour un peu moins de 2 personnes sur 10 (15,4 %), ce sont les études qui en sont la cause. Enfin, 10,5 % de ce groupe dit sortir de Laval aux fins de loisirs et 4,1 % pour magasiner. L’île de Montréal exerce de loin le plus grand pouvoir d’attraction auprès de ces Lavallois qui s’y rendent dans une proportion de 66 %. La Couronne nord que constituent les régions des Laurentides et Lanaudière accueille 30 % de cette clientèle alors que moins de 4 % privilégie la Couronne sud. Cette vaste étude effectuée auprès de quelque 6000 ménages lavallois établit également la part modale des déplacements motorisés des résidents sortants de Laval, et ce, sur une période de 24 heures. Près de 3 personnes sur quatre (72,5 %) disent se déplacer exclusivement en automobile ou au guidon d’une moto contre 18,3 % des gens interrogés qui utilisent seulement les transports en commun, à savoir l’autobus, le métro, le train et/ou le taxi collectif. Le bimode est la réalité de 7,7 % des répondants, eux qui prennent l’automobile ou la moto pour accéder au transport en commun. Quant aux autres modes collectifs que représentent les transports adapté et scolaire, le taxi et l’autobus longue distance, ils comptent pour 1 % de la part modale des déplacements motorisés des Lavallois. En comparaison à 2013, le recours exclusif à l’automobile est en baisse d’un point de pourcentage à Laval. À l’inverse, l’usage exclusif du transport en commun a crû de 1,5 point en 2018 pendant que le bimode perdait la moitié d’un point de pourcentage. Cela dit, en pareille matière, les Lavallois ont encore beaucoup à faire s’ils veulent un jour rejoindre les Longueillois, qui utilisent nettement plus fréquemment les transports collectifs. Selon l’enquête Origine-Destination 2018, les résidents de cette municipalité de quelque 250 000 âmes, également desservie par le métro, recourent exclusivement aux modes de transport en commun dans 29,1 % de leurs déplacements motorisés. C’est tout près de 11 points de pourcentage de plus qu’à Laval. En d’autres termes, cette façon de se déplacer est 60 % plus élevée à Longueuil qu’à Laval. «La part modale est directement liée à la densité d’activités (domicile, emplois, études, commerces) des lieux d’origine et destination», explique le porte-parole de l’Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM), Simon Charbonneau, tout en soulignant que cette densité d’activités est «légèrement supérieure à Longueuil». En matière d’emplois, par exemple, Longueuil compte 900 emplois au kilomètre carré contre 800 à Laval. «Le nombre de déplacements de Longueuil vers le centre-ville (secteur à très haute densité d’activités) est également plus élevé, ce qui favorise aussi une part modale plus élevée actuellement», analyse-t-il. Source d’information fiable et complète sur les déplacements des personnes à pied, à vélo, en bus, en métro, en train ou en auto dans la région métropolitaine de Montréal, l’enquête Origine-Destination a permis d’établir à quelque 800 000 le nombre de déplacements par les résidents de Laval pour un jour moyen de semaine. En matière de modes de transport actif, cette mesure prise à l’automne 2018 ne tient compte que des déplacements vers une destination précise, mentionne Daniel Bergeron, directeur exécutif Planification des transports et mobilité à l’Autorité régionale du transport métropolitain (ARTM). Incidemment, cette enquête contribue activement à une meilleure planification des réseaux de transport collectif et routier et à l’amélioration des plans de développement urbain du Grand Montréal (voir autre texte). À lire également: On veut hausser l’offre de service de 60 % en 10 ans Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
LOS ANGELES — Phil Spector was viewed as a man with two distinct personas: The late music producer was regarded as a rock ‘n’ roll genius who elevated the genre with his “Wall of Sound” style in the 1960s and created hits for several big names from the Beatles to Tina Turner. But while Spector made his mark as a revolutionary music producer, the stories of him waving guns at recording artists and being convicted of murder overshadowed his artistry. California state prison officials said Spector died Saturday at age 81 of natural causes at a hospital. He was convicted of killing actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life. The reaction to Spector’s death resurrected some mixed feelings about his life and legacy. Some lauded his early contributions to rock music, while others struggled to forgive his volatile past. Beach Boys musician Al Jardine said it would be “nice to remember him only for his songs & production talents.” He said The Ronettes’ song “Be My Baby,” which was produced and co-written by Spector, inspired his brother Brian Wilson. Stevie Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band called Spector a “genius irredeemably conflicted.” “He was the ultimate example of the art always being better than the artist,” said Zandt on Twitter. He added that Spector “made some of the greatest records in history based on the salvation of love while remaining incapable of giving or receiving love his whole life.” Meanwhile, “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey took aim at Spector, calling him a “murderer and an abusive maniac.” “I wish he would’ve gotten the mental health help he so clearly needed, but he didn’t,” the comedian said on social media. “And so instead of (asterisk)just(asterisk) pulling guns on people in anger or for fun, he murdered one of them. Good ear for music tho, I’ll give you that.” Spector’s former wife, Ronnie Spector, remembered him on Sunday as a “brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.” She was the lead singer of the Ronettes. “Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio,” she wrote on Instagram. “Darkness set in, many lives were damaged. I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever.” But Darlene Love, who sang some of Spector’s hits from “He’s a Rebel” and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” took a different approach despite her problematic relationship with the producer. She felt sadness after hearing of Spector’s death from her son. “It was sad because of what Spector did, the wonderful music he created, and he spent nearly 20 years of his life in prison,” said Love, who admitted that Spector tried to “control my talent” during her singing career. She said Spector had a dangerous temperament at times, but she tried to remember the positive. “I hope people don’t only remember the reason he spent those years in prison, but more or less what he did for rock ‘n’ roll,” she continued. “He changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what brought me to sadness.” Spector was hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” in the 1960s that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.” Bruce Springsteen and Wilson openly replicated his grandiose recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.” But the multiple stories of Spector waving guns at recording artists in the studio and threatening women would come back to haunt him after Clarkson’s death. Clarkson, star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-movies, was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills overlooking Alhambra, a modest suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles. Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide,” few residents even knew the mansion belonged to the reclusive producer, who spent his remaining years in a prison hospital east of Stockton. Spector became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. But ultimately, his recording artists began to quit working with him and musical styles passed him by. “He self-destructed in the most horrific manner,” said David Thompson, the author of “Wall of Pain: The Biography of Phil Spector,” released in 2004. “But we have to separate the two. There are so many people who were once revered then we find out they did something terrible. It wipes out all of their achievements. I don’t agree with that.” Thompson said Spector’s biography was one of his toughest to write, because he wanted to solely focus on the music. But while working on the book, he found out about Spector’s conviction. “That was a hard balance,” he said. “I wanted to write about the music, just what he did, what he created and what he gave us. But you had to sort of balance it with the awful things he did.” Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
SUDBURY, Ont. — A class has been sent home from a Sudbury, Ont., elementary school following a confirmed case of COVID-19. Parents of a senior kindergarten/Grade 1 class at St. David's Catholic elementary school were told their children should stay home. Director of Education Joanne Benard says in a letter issued to parents on Sunday that the person with the confirmed case of the novel coronavirus is self-isolating. She says public health officials will notify the parents of anyone considered a close contact. Benard also says all students in the class should self-isolate until Jan. 29 and get tested for the virus as soon as possible. She says "it's understandable that this situation may make caregivers anxious" and says parents of children in other classes should notify the school if they choose to keep their youngsters at home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press