A driver in Astana, Kazakhstan underestimates the height of a bridge while transporting a giant deer statue.
A driver in Astana, Kazakhstan underestimates the height of a bridge while transporting a giant deer statue.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
La CSD Construction est inquiète du contenu du projet de loi 59 portant sur des modifications au régime de la santé et sécurité du travail. C’est pourquoi la centrale syndicale a soumis plusieurs recommandations au ministre du Travail Jean Boulet pour bonifier le projet de loi lors de son passage en commission parlementaire, mercredi matin. Essentiellement, ces modifications portent sur la prévention avec des représentants en santé et sécurité plus nombreux, autonomes et indépendants des patrons. Par voie de communiqué, la CSD a fait savoir qu’après une analyse approfondie du projet de loi, elle porte un regard très critique sur ce qui est sur la table. « On ne va pas dans la bonne direction pour diminuer les accidents et les décès qui surviennent trop souvent dans l’industrie de la construction, industrie qui, rappelons-le, est la plus meurtrière au Québec », de s’indigner Carl Dufour, président de la CSD Construction. Selon lui, le projet de loi 59 porte plusieurs mesures qui tireront l’industrie vers le bas s’il n’est pas modifié et si le ministre ne retient pas les propositions de la CSD Construction. La centrale rappelle que l’occasion est unique pour modifier des lois qui n’ont pas été dépoussiérées depuis plus de 40 ans. « Tant qu’à réformer les lois en santé et sécurité du travail, réformons-les pour vrai », a déclaré M. Dufour. La CSD Construction demande la mise en place d’équipes volantes de représentants en santé et sécurité autonomes et indépendants qui seraient sous la responsabilité de chaque organisation syndicale. Ils seraient outillés pour faire de la prévention à temps plein. Dans sa forme actuelle, le projet de loi prévoit que les chantiers de 10 à 100 travailleurs, où il y a le plus haut taux de lésions, aient un représentant en santé et sécurité qui soit employé du chantier, donc de l’employeur. « Ce sont les chantiers où les règles sont les moins respectées par les employeurs. On le voit bien dans le cadre de la pandémie. Soyons réalistes, l’employé responsable de la santé et sécurité n’aura pas la liberté nécessaire pour soulever les problèmes et émettre des recommandations, surtout si elles sont coûteuses, à son dirigeant. Il y a donc ici un réel enjeu d’indépendance. Il faut rappeler qu’il n’existe pas de règle d’ancienneté et de priorité de rappel dans la construction », de préciser le président de la CSD Construction. Ce dernier a ajouté qu’« une prévention efficace est le nerf de la guerre pour faire perdre au secteur construction le triste record du plus grand nombre de décès reliés au travail, année après année ». Pour ce qui est des chantiers de plus de 100 travailleurs, le syndicat demande qu’on revoie les seuils pour permettre plus d’agents de sécurité et de représentants en santé et sécurité. Notamment, la CSD Construction demande qu’un représentant en santé et sécurité soit désigné pour chaque tranche de 100 travailleurs présents sur le chantier de construction, plutôt qu’à chaque tranche de 300, comme il est proposé. Le syndicat demande aussi que le seuil à partir duquel un agent de sécurité à temps plein doit être désigné sur un chantier demeure le même (8 millions de dollars) et ne soit pas majoré à 25 millions. La CSD Construction souligne que le projet de réforme prévoit un programme de prévention intéressant, qui doit être mis en place par l’employeur, ainsi qu’un comité supervisant l’application des mesures de prévention sur les chantiers de 20 travailleurs et plus.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
The government of the Northwest Territories on Thursday said it will open 900 more spots at the COVID-19 vaccine clinics next week in Yellowknife to inoculate the city's priority population — people aged 60 years and older. The government has been holding a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for people over 60 in the territory's capital this week, at which all 1,000 spots have been filled. A government spokesperson said there are about 2,000 people over 60 in Yellowknife and the government expects to cover all of them who want it, by the end of next week. The clinic next week will run Monday Jan. 25 to Thursday Jan. 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Yellowknife Multiplex DND Gymnasium. People over 60 can book online right now, with the territory's new system, to make their appointments to get vaccinated at the clinics next week.
HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canada's long-track speedskating team has entered a Dutch "bubble" to compete in its first international races in over 10 months. Olympic and world champion Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary and world champion Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa lead a Canadian contingent of 13 skaters into Heerenveen, the Netherlands for their first World Cup races of the season starting Friday. Their racing season has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadians will compete in World Cup races crammed into a pair of weekends, and remain in the Netherlands for next month's world championship. Canada's long-track team had its most successful season in a decade in 2019-20 with 10 world championship medals, including three gold, and 31 World Cup medals. The team has been without ice in the Calgary Oval since Sept. 5, however, because of a mechanical failure. Ice isn't expected to be restored before May. Aside from two weeks in an indoor oval in Fort St. John, B.C., in November and outdoor skating in Red Deer, Alta., the athletes' training has been limited to dryland and short-track workouts. "The focus over the next month will not be on podium performances, but more so on skaters to continue their preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing," Speed Skating Canada said in a statement. "They will look to utilize the valuable ice time in Heerenveen to regain their form, before lining up for their first races in over 10 months." Toronto's Jordan Belchos, Ottawa's Isabelle Weidemann, Calgary's Kaylin Irvine and Gilmore Junio, Winnipeg's Heather McLean, Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., Abigail McCluskey of Penticton, B.C., Quebec City's Béatrice Lamarche and Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., round out Canada's team. Participation was the choice of each athlete, coach and staff member, Speed Skating Canada said in the statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Farming in Canada has long been filled with family and legacy farms bringing new workers into the industry, but a new program for aspiring farmers aims to offer a helping hand to the industry's next generation. The Business Bootcamp for New Farmers is a new program created by Young Agrarians, a farmer-to-farmer educational resource network that started in 2012. The program offers lessons for new and aspiring farmers from experts in the field. Alexandra Pulwicki, e-learning coordinator for Young Agrarians, said her organization noticed a lot of the available resources were geared toward conventional, large-scale farms with one or two crops. But they heard from a lot of aspiring farmers, Pulwicki said, who were interested in diversified farms and had backgrounds outside the industry. "There's just kind of an eagerness in the people who have signed up to get going," Pulwicki said on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active on Wednesday afternoon. "But it seems like there's this barrier of not knowing where to turn for supports. This kind of small-scale diversified farming is different than conventional agriculture." The program covers 10 topics over as many weeks, teaching new farmers about the market, business structure and financing for farms, among other things. Each camp has 30 spots, and sign-ups are charged on a sliding scale between $250 and $350. The bootcamp was launched at the start of January, but Pulwicki says it filled up so quickly with a long enough waitlist that Young Agrarians is already starting a second program in February. Instructors in the program include ranchers, florists, marketing and finance experts, and a variety of farmers from across western Canada. Pulwicki says roughly two-thirds of new farmers in Canada are coming from non-farming backgrounds, which represents a dramatic change from previous generations, who mostly grew up on a farm or had relatives working in the industry. Having that family history in farming makes for a smoother transition that many new farmers today don't have. But less than 10 per cent of farmers in Canada are 35 or younger, Pulwicki said, meaning there's a lot of land and knowledge that will need to be passed on in the coming years. "Right now we're really seeing a surge of people coming often from cities who want to grow food and provide for their communities," Pulwicki said. "There's a big transition of farming knowledge that needs to happen, and a big group of new farmers that need to come up and take the reins of these farms."
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that Russia can be held to account for what judges said were acts of torture and ill treatment carried out in the days after the August 2008 war between Russia and ex-Soviet Georgia. During five days of fighting, Russia pushed troops into Georgia in support of its allies in the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia. The Strasbourg-based court ruled that Russia could be held responsible for three episodes that took place after the fighting was largely over.
TC Energy Corp will eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs in coming weeks and halt work on the Keystone XL oil pipeline after U.S. President Joe Biden revoked the project's presidential permit, the company said in an email to employees. Biden's decision to cancel the permit is seen as the project's death knell, after more than a decade of legal battles and shifting fortunes based on who held office in the White House. "I believe this will send a concerning signal to infrastructure developers that resonates far beyond our project and will stifle innovation for a practical transition towards sustainable energy," said KXL President Richard Prior in the email, sent on Wednesday and seen by Reuters.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly said Thursday its COVID-19 antibody drug can prevent illness in residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care locations. It's the first major study to show such a treatment may prevent disease. Residents and staff who got the drug had up to a 57% lower risk of getting COVID-19 compared to others at the same facility who got a placebo, the drugmaker said. Among nursing home residents only, the risk was reduced by up to 80%. The study involved more than 1,000 residents and staff at nursing homes and other long-term care locations. The research was conducted with the National Institutes of Health. Results were released in a press release and the company said it would publish results in a journal soon. The Food and Drug Administration in November allowed emergency use of Lilly antibody drug as a treatment for mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization. It’s a one-time treatment given through an IV. Lilly said it will seek expansion of that authorization to include using the drug to prevent and treat COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. Nursing homes and other long-term care locations have been hard hit by the pandemic. In the United States, they account for less than 1% of the population, but nearly 40% of deaths from COVID-19. These long-term care locations have been given priority to vaccinate residents and staff with recently authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The Associated Press
Unable to take his students out into the field to see the effects of climate change on P.E.I. in person during the pandemic, Prof. Adam Fenech has arranged to bring the Island to them. Fenech, head of the school of climate change and adaptation at the University of Prince Edward Island, said he had to make some changes to his normal teaching this summer. "I normally take students all around the Island and show them places that are being impacted by climate change, and then talk to some people about how they're adapting to it," he said. "Under COVID, we realized that we couldn't all jump into a van and go and visit these places, so I thought I would bring the Island to my students." Fenech was able to partner with Climate Sense to create four videos about some of the locations and people he has been visiting with his students. Eric Gilbert from Victoria-by-the-Sea talking about the environmental challenges and adaptation approaches to climate change in a small rural municipality. Mike Cassidy voicing his dread about the coastal erosion on P.E.I. and its insidious impacts on his cottage property. Shepherd Adam MacLean speaking about the challenges and opportunities from climate change facing his sheep farming at South Melville. Mike Cassidy sharing his experience in growing the haskap berry, a more environmentally friendly alternative table berry for Island farmers. "These document some of the stories about how the climate is impacting and how specifically Islanders have taken up that challenge and how they're learning to adapt," Fenech said. He is hoping to do another four films this summer. He has 16 stories that he would like to tell in film eventually. You can see the videos at the Climate Sense website. More from CBC P.E.I.
Tay council had to defer its excitement around the Waubaushene Pines School property until after a community group presents its thoughts next week. At a recent committee meeting, Coun. Barry Norris shared the adhoc committee's thoughts around the building with the rest of council. The approximate 3.24-hectare property has 110 feet of frontage on Pine Street, about 200 feet along Elm Street on the side and some 325 feet in the back running along Thiffault Street, says the report. The school building has four classrooms on a total area of 6,863 square feet. The report also makes a number of suggestions around future uses for the property if the township goes ahead with the purchase, adding the building would require work from a structural engineer and designer if it is to be assigned as an affordable housing project. Norris asked the staff member to explain why that would be so. Terry Tompkins, manager of building services/chief building official, who was also on the tour taken by the adhoc committee last year, answered the question: "Looking at the various sections of deterioration and the age of the building, to satisfy the building department in regards to permits that would be issued, we would be looking for a structural engineer to go through the building to ensure it's structurally sound and will meet the purpose it will be intended for," he said. "Because it's an assembly occupancy, an architect or engineer is required to do drawings to incorporate changes, which includes accessibility." Another suggestion by the committee was to repurpose the building to be used as a community hub, which incorporates the Waubaushene library. "I am in favour of the site," said Coun. Mary Warnock, who was also on the tour. "I like the location. We have to ensure it's feasible and it's going to meet the needs of the people in that community. "I like the idea of re-purposing. I like the idea of maybe looking at incorporating a library and possibilities of the sale of that property to put toward another facility of some kind." However, Mayor Ted Walker cautioned council about making any decisions since a community group deputation to council next week hopes to make a case in favour of the property. "I would hold off our decisions until we've given that group an opportunity to talk," he said. In an email to MidlandToday, Evelyn Roberts, secretary of the Waubaushene Action Group, confirmed the group's intent to present to council on Jan. 27. "The Waubaushene Action Group wants a multi-use community centre in Waubaushene," she wrote. "Our hamlet has been asking for this for years. We think the Pine Street school is an excellent opportunity because of its central, accessible location for the youth, seniors and residents of Waubaushene. Alternatively, the township could build a new centre in Waubaushene in Bridgeview Park. "We have no schools left in Waubaushene and very few other services, unlike other areas of the township," wrote Roberts, adding the group has collected hundreds of petition signatures. "We believe that the time has come for Waubaushene, and that services should be distributed equitably across the township." Norris said the school board has provided the committee with some additional but confidential information. Now the township has until Feb. 10 to send a letter of interest, which will likely be among at least 14 different agencies also vying for the opportunity, he added. After the Feb. 10 deadline, he said, the parties that have shown an interest will be notified. "I believe it's another 90 days that those organizations have to submit their proposals for costing," said Norris. "When that happens, it is awarded and then the school board proceeds to the province to allow them to put the school on the open market." Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Le vote secret des députés conservateurs sur la demande d’expulsion de leur collègue ontarien du parti est prévu mercredi avant-midi. Il lui est reproché d’avoir accepté le don d’un nationaliste blanc lors de sa campagne pour la direction de la formation politique. Une frange des 121 élus aurait approuvé la demande visant à exclure Derek Sloan comme prévu dans les règlements du parti au sujet d’un membre du caucus, mais la décision ne fait pas l’unanimité. Le chef du parti conservateur, Erin O’Toole, a lancé le processus d’expulsion de son collègue lundi après la publication d’une information selon laquelle il a reçu un don de 131 $ de Paul Fromm, connu comme étant un suprémaciste blanc lié aux causes néonazies. Le don remis sous le nom de Frederick Fromm, a été rendu public par le site d’information PressProgress, à la réputation de gauche. Erin O’Toole a publié une déclaration visant à faire savoir à l’opinion publique qu’il n’y a pas de place pour le racisme au sein du Parti conservateur. Malgré les soutiens que cette justification a engrangés sur les réseaux sociaux, certains élus conservateurs redoutent en privé l’effet d’un précédent majeur sur la collecte des dons. Sloan veut défier O’Toole Dans une interview accordée à la CBC, le député de Hastings–Lennox et Addington a déclaré qu’il prévoyait de lancer une riposte à la rencontre de ce mercredi et qu’il avait contacté des collègues du caucus pour faire valoir ses arguments. Derek Sloan a déjà affirmé qu’il n’était pas au courant de l’origine du don querellé parce que Fromm avait utilisé son nom complet pour cette contribution. Il a expliqué que ses équipes avaient reçu beaucoup de dons individuels et ne pouvaient pas examiner chaque opération en faveur de sa campagne électorale. Le député ontarien a ajouté qu’il ne connaissait pas particulièrement Fromm, mis à part le fait qu’il est lié à des groupes considérés comme racistes. Le chef du parti conservateur a souhaité que le mis en cause soit expulsé du parti « le plus rapidement possible » et qu’il ne puisse pas se présenter aux prochaines élections sous la bannière du Parti conservateur. « Je suis dans un mariage interracial, donc je condamne bien sûr le racisme, je condamne la haine de toute nature », a déclaré M. Sloan pour se défendre. Les libéraux saluent la position de Erin O’Toole sur la question. « Les partis politiques doivent rester vigilants, surtout à la suite de ce que nous avons vu aux États-Unis, face à l’infiltration ou à la présence active d’éléments marginaux, extrémistes, violents, inacceptables ou intolérants », a exhorté le premier ministre Justin Trudeau. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
The federal government is following through on its commitment to establish a Canada Water Agency (CWA) and improve freshwater management across Canada with the launch of public consultations last month. The announcement was made jointly by Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of environment and climate change Canada and Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. Water challenges such as droughts, floods and deteriorating water quality are intensifying, due in large part to climate change, and Canadians are seeing these costly impacts first-hand in communities across the country. “Canadians want a future with cleaner air and cleaner water for their children and grandchildren. Establishing the Canada Water Agency (CWA) will help to identify, better coordinate and address various issues relating to freshwater in Canada,” said Minister Wilkinson in a statement urging Canadians to participate in the consultations. Farmers also need reliable supplies of quality freshwater to produce high quality food to feed Canadians and export around the world and should make their voices heard, added Minister Bibeau. Matthew McCandless is the executive director of International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) in Northwestern Ontario. In July 2020 he coauthored an article in Policy Options with Carolyn Dubois of the Gordon Foundation to promote the development of the CWA as an opportunity to tap into existing innovations to answer fundamental questions about the state of freshwater in Canada and how to protect it. The article was meant to capture some things that could be done across the country and to sort out the federal role and what federal obligations are in terms of things like provincial regulations and the International Boundary Waters Treaty (which covers all waters shared by Canada and the United States), he explained. “Management of the water has largely been under provincial jurisdiction while the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans tends to focus on the Fisheries Act, fisheries habitat and environmental protection,” Mr. McCandless said. “Things like drinking water allocation and wastewater are some of the things that have always been under provincial jurisdiction.” He pointed to the difference in funding between Canada and the US. “If you look at monitoring stations that are already in place on the Great Lakes, there’s a stark difference between how much monitoring is done in the US versus how much is done in Canada. We just don’t have the money to put into our water resources.” He hopes that a CWA can provide a more coordinated and cohesive approach to water monitoring and management. IISD-ELA looks at issues of freshwater using ELA science, both the problems of today and what might become the problems of tomorrow. Phosphorus is a water problem of today, he said, as is climate change. Better ways of cleaning up oil spills in Canada is something they’re working on for the future. Scientists are also doing a lot of research on pharmaceuticals that end up passing through the body and through the sewage plants and into water systems, he said. These are things that might affect fish health and behaviour. “More recently, we’ve been thinking about antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral cleaning products and what those can do to our water. What are the effects on the small organisms in the ecosystems that the bigger ones rely on? In a place like Manitoulin Island there is a lot of tourism and recreational fishing. What would it mean if suddenly, because of these chemicals, recreational fisheries were decimated? These are the future problems and we think that CWA should have a way to look at these emerging threats to freshwater.” We should not only be dealing with things we already know about but also considering future problems that municipalities and small communities might be having in 20 or 30 years. “Right now we don’t really have guidelines for sewage plants treating these things so that’s certainly an opportunity for a water agency. Whether it’s research or monitoring or new policies and guidelines, it’s all important,” Mr. McCandless said. Canada has a large and sparsely populated land base that supports an abundance of water bodies spanning multiple borders and communities. The Great Lakes region alone supports 51 million jobs, or nearly 30 percent of the combined American and Canadian workforces, and one in four Canadians draw their drinking water directly from the Great Lakes. Freshwater issues also affect Inuit, First Nations and Metis communities, and water plays a central role in their well-being and cultural practices. “Through the Canada Water Agency, our government is looking to strengthen collaboration between the federal government, the provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples and other partners to find the best ways to safeguard our freshwater consultations are an important part of this process and I look forward to input from Canadians,” Terry Duguid said in a statement. Mr. Duguid is Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Wilkinson and has been key in the development process. The discussion paper, ‘Toward the Creation of a Canada Water Agency,’ presents key issues and provides an overview of the federal government’s existing activities to enhance freshwater management, and a virtual national freshwater policy forum is planned for January 27 and 28. A series of regional forums will be held in February that will provide additional opportunities to participate in consultations. The discussion paper and additional information can be found at placespeak.ca. Comments can be submitted until March 1. Lori Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Manitoulin Expositor
This pet raccoon wearing Pikachu pajamas chows down on some yummy treats alongside his owner. Cuteness overload!
A North Battleford man pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and elected to be tried by provincial court judge. Trent Fox, 19, has been in custody since his arrest in October 2020. Fox is accused of stabbing a 21-year-old man at a business in Prince Albert. Police say they were called to a business in the 3200 block of 2nd Avenue West at about 10 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2020. STARS took the victim to a Saskatoon hospital with life-threatening injuries. Prince Albert Police say that Fox hitchhiked to Prince Albert from North Battleford earlier on the evening of Oct. 14. The charges against Fox haven’t been proven in court. Fox’s trial is scheduled to start in Prince Albert Provincial Court on May 20. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will not review a lower-court ruling that was a victory for a conservation officer who refused to euthanize two bear cubs.Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015 after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding a home near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.Casavant's union filed a grievance on his behalf under its collective agreement, but he reached a settlement with his employer before arbitration was completed.Casavant later argued in court that disciplinary actions should have taken place in accordance with British Columbia's Police Act, given the nature of his employment as a special provincial constable.The B.C. Court of Appeal accepted this view last June and nixed Casavant's firing, prompting the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union to seek a hearing in the Supreme Court.The union appealed to the high court to gain clarity on the role of collective agreements when members with special constable status face discipline.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
With the facility closed to patrons, the chair of the Blue Mountain Ratepayers' Association’s (BMRA) budget committee says the Blue Mountains Public Library (BMPL) should be reducing its operating expenses. The BMRA held a membership meeting last week where they invited The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) Mayor Alar Soever, Deputy Mayor, Rob Potter and town councillor Peter Bordignon to address questions from association members. “The library operations and public access to the facility will continue to be greatly limited. Should that not suggest that the operating expenses of the library could be trimmed rather than increased?” asked Brian Harkness, chair of the BMRA budget committee, during the meeting with members of council. In the TBM 2021 draft budget, which is expected to be passed by council on Feb. 8, the BMPL has stated that the pandemic has not reduced the library’s expenses, but in fact, increased expenses and decreased revenues. “BMPL must adhere to strict safety procedures for both a healthy workplace and the health of the community. As a result, there is an increase in the budget to health and safety PPE and supplies, as well as a decrease in revenue which would typically be gained through rentals in the facilities,” states the budget document. The BMPL is proposing a total net cost of service of $1,055,634 in the draft budget, compared to a net cost of service in 2019 of $645,901. Dr. Sabrina Saunders, CEO of the BMPL says that while the library may have been operating with reduced access to the facility, the library’s service levels throughout the pandemic have not wavered. “The community has had limited access to browse the collections in our buildings, and as such, we have placed additional staff on the task of 'personal shopping' for holds and materials for our community members,” Saunders said. “Again, we have taken this direction to maintain the service levels to our community, while assuring the safe access of materials, and limiting the spread of this deadly virus.” Potter, who sits on both the library and museum boards, says the library is one of the most-used facilities in TBM. “I know that the library staff are still very busy. They are starting up the book exchange program again and they still have curbside service for people that want to borrow books. There's still a lot going on,” Potter said. According to Mayor Soever, TBM is spending half the amount of what surrounding municipalities are spending on their respective libraries. “And we have the highest usage per capita, because people are really using the library,” Soever said. According to the 2021 draft budget, BMPL’s level of service includes 3,201 cardholders, who borrow 81,887 print and 19,864 digital items annually, as well as offering 726 community programs. Soever added that, through the council’s budget deliberations, town council and staff will be looking at the possibility of tying the library budget to the tax base. A concept welcomed by Harkness and the BMRA. “We're also looking at a separate library levy so that it actually shows up as a separate line item. And then we'll take direction from our community on that,” Soever added. As for the Craigleith Heritage Depot (CHD), in an effort to reduce the town budget, which is currently being proposed to have a 1.3 per cent levy increase, Harkness suggested TBM council should explore the idea of housing TBM archives and displays at Grey Roots, the county-run museum. “Would we not be better served to send our historical archives and museum displays to the Grey County museum, which our tax dollars help to fund, and avoid having to invest in the CHD, which is apparently quite ill-equipped to house the artifacts?” Harkness said. However, the idea didn't go over well with councillors. “I, for one, would not want to see our local history crammed into a space somewhere in the back rooms at Grey Roots where it's never to be seen again. I want our local history here in our community,” said Potter. “The depot itself is a historical artifact. It is the only railway station of its kind in Ontario, and it's a reminder of the very first railroads that served this country.” Saunders added that moving the contents of the museum would defeat the purpose of collecting community content. “A community museum is just that, a museum focused on community content. Our county and regional museums do not hold the same mandates as local community museums, which is to hold and preserve the local artifacts and heritage in the locality,” Saunders said. “The social fabric, history, and nuance of TBM would be lost in a larger museum, which has to be a rounder collection to a greater region.” She added that CHD has thrived in building relationships in the community and preserving local artifacts, content and stories, which would otherwise be lost. “Our museum staff have been an integral part of the BMPL. Over the past four years we have been able to share new research, engage our community memory bank and developed an award-winning film series that has generated new appreciation and understanding of our own history and heritage. This work has been done for and within the community where it most strongly connects,” Saunders said. Saunders also pointed out that the TBM invested in the CHD facility in the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years to assure the museum is set for collection development, maintenance and storage through the remediation of the facility and a capital investment of mobile storage shelving. “We are very happy with the results and know this has further expanded the capacity of this local community museum,” she said. Soever added that it would be highly unlikely for council to consider the completely dismantling the CHD. “We can certainly look at storing artifacts at Grey Roots, if they have the capacity. But, I think we really need to keep the depot as the place where people can see local history and, certainly, the library has generated a lot of good work that is keeping our history alive,” Soever said. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
A cold chain break during the transportation of a COVID-19 vaccine recently is causing Central Health to make changes to its procedures. The break occurred earlier this month when 160 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were being transported from the distribution centre in Gander to the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor. The break came when the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at a temperature between –60 C and –80 C, went to a temperature that was between two and eight degrees outside what is recommended. Central Health has made changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. “What we do when a situation like this happens, or any situation that happens, we follow a continuous quality improvement approach,” said Joanne Pelley, vice-president of integrated health and chief nursing executive with Central Health. “With that, we would review all processes that occurred and look at anything that we need to do differently.” One of those changes is to have the shipments of the vaccine transported on the day of the clinic instead of the day before. In the days that followed the break, there were no transportation issues and they were able to deliver vaccines to priority health-care workers. “We’ve reviewed the process, we’ve implemented new approaches and we certainly do not want this to happen again,” said Pelley. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the vaccine is transported with a specialized temperature recorder in each box, which indicated the doses had been above that for 15 minutes. “It’s my understanding that it has to do with just the way that the shipping container was conditioned — and the TempTale, the temperature recording device that we use — were conditioned prior to being placed in the … shipping container, and so that can sometimes result in a higher reading,” Fitzgerald said Wednesday. While there was no damage to the vaccine, it became paramount that those doses be administered as quickly as possible. Because of this, officials with Central Health pulled their health-care teams together and quickly started assessing the situation, while determining the best choice of action. None of the doses went to waste, and were delivered to the people who needed them in the six hours when they had to be delivered. “Central looked at this and tried to determine what the reason for that cold chain break was, and to the best of my knowledge at this point, they have figured that out and they have put safeguards in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Fitzgerald. — With files from Peter Jackson Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
While Municipalities of Saskatchewan President Gordon Barnhart remains out of province on vacation, members of the organization said they are still in the dark about his plans to return. Barnhart did comment on his vacation to Hawaii with his wife for a Jan. 19 story written by Gary Horseman, a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the Four-Town Journal. The Journal covers Saltcoats, the town where Barnhart is the mayor. “For the last nine years, Naomi and I have spent Christmas and January in Maui. This year, with COVID-19, we took extra precautions to ensure that our health and the health of those around us would be safe,” Barnhart told the Journal. “Before leaving for our vacation, I discussed with the Saltcoats council and administration how we could keep in contact while away. While in Maui, we both have been keeping up with work by email and phone, FaceTime and Zoom. As mayor of Saltcoats, I am in touch with councillors and administration on a daily basis. Arrangements have been made for me to fulfill my administrative duties by distance and I have been able to chair council meetings by Zoom. I take my role as mayor very seriously and believe I have been able to fulfill my duties to the best of my ability while still taking a holiday with my wife,” Barnhart continued. The fact that Barnhart has been taking precautions while travelling is great, said Naicam Mayor Rodger Hayward, Municipalities of Saskatchewan’s vice-president of towns, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that elected officials like Barnhart should be taking public health orders to not travel seriously. “As municipal leaders, we have a duty to lead by example, following all public health measures, orders and advisories. The premier has asked everyone to not do unnecessary travel and especially out-of-country travel,” he said. In Barnhart’s comments to the Four-Town Journal, he really didn’t address that key issue, Hayward said. While Municipalities of Saskatchewan is busy preparing for their upcoming virtual convention, Hayward said he is sure the president’s travel will be part of the conversation. “It'll be a little different because it's a virtual convention and it’s our very first one, so we'll see how it goes. But I'm sure it'll be a topic there. The office of president and the rest of the executive is up for election this year, as well.” Barnhart has not been in contact with Hayward as of Jan. 20. Hayward said he was in contact with only one other board member of Municipalities of Saskatchewan to give the same information that was given to the Four-Town Journal. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
WASHINGTON — U.S. home construction jumped 5.8% in December to 1.67 million units, ending a strong year for home building. The better-than-expected gain followed an increase of 9.8% in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Housing has been one of the star performers this year even as the overall economy has been wracked by the coronavirus. Record-low mortgage rates and the desire of many people to move to larger homes during the extended stay-at-home period has fueled demand. For December, construction of single-family homes increased 12%. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
BALTIMORE — The president of a historically Black university in Maryland was so captivated by inaugural poet Amanda Gorman’s poem during President Joe Biden’s inauguration that he offered her a job -- on Twitter. Morgan State University President David Wilson joined the many people lauding Gorman, 22, Wednesday after her recital of “The Hill We Climb,” a poem that summoned images dire and triumphant and echoed the oratory of John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. among others before the global audience. “Ms. Gorman, I need you as our Poet-in-Residence at the National Treasure, ?@MorganStateU,” Wilson tweeted. “Outstanding!!!!! Consider this a job offer!” Wilson’s offer is certainly not the only opportunity that Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, will receive since her widely praised performance. The Harvard University alum and Los Angeles native is already the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. She, along with Vice-President Kamala Harris, inspired many people to tweet about #BlackGirlMagic on Wednesday. And Gorman hasn't been shy to say she'll run for president herself one day. Her career is already taking off: Penguin Young Readers announced Wednesday that “The Hill We Climb” will be published in a special edition this spring. Within hours after her performance, her illustrated “Change Sings” book was No. 1 on Amazon.com’s bestseller list, her September poetry collection was No. 2, and her Instagram followers grew to 1.3 million. But Wilson, who says he was “glued to the TV” while Gorman spoke, has hope. “I’m very serious about opening an opportunity for her to come here as a poet in residence. We have all kinds of authors on campus, and we think that being at Morgan for a year would give her an even deeper and wider perspective on the issues she is addressing. If she would accept this offer, I would move on it in a heartbeat,” he told The Baltimore Sun. “I will be watching my emails.” The Associated Press