This skier performed a spin in the air and accidentally brushed past treetops. However, it did not affect his stunt and he remained made a perfect landing in the snow.
This skier performed a spin in the air and accidentally brushed past treetops. However, it did not affect his stunt and he remained made a perfect landing in the snow.
NORTH PERTH – Residents are being encouraged by Amy Gangl, interim manager of recreation, to have their say in the development of a community park which will replace Listowel Memorial Arena after its demolition this year. Municipal staff are working with consultants, SHIFT Landscape Architecture, to explore design options to help shape the future park space, and they are looking for input on two preliminary design options presented on Your Say North Perth. On the Memorial Arena Park design options project page at YoursayNorthPerth.ca, residents can review the designs and provide feedback through a survey until Jan. 18. “We’ve received some great input and quite a bit of engagement from the community which is fantastic news,” said Gangl. “That is one of the items council was hoping for and our consultants are already quite pleased with the… input regarding the concept of the designs.” Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus infections in the Philippines have surged past 500,000 in a new bleak milestone with the government facing criticism for failing to immediately launch a vaccination program amid a global scramble for COVID-19 vaccines. The Department of Health reported 1,895 new infections Sunday, bringing confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to 500,577, the second highest in Southeast Asia. There have been at least 9,895 deaths. The Philippines has been negotiating with seven Western and Chinese companies to secure 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine but the effort has been fraught with uncertainties and confusion. About 50,000 doses from China-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd. may arrive later next month followed by much larger shipments, according to the government, but concerns have been raised over its efficacy. President Rodrigo Duterte says securing the vaccines has been difficult because wealthy nations have secured massive doses for their citizens first. Duterte’s elite guards have acknowledged they have been inoculated with a still-unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine partly to ensure that they would not infect the 75-year-old president. Duterte’s spokesman and other officials have denied the president himself was vaccinated. A flurry of criticism has followed the illegal vaccinations, but few details have been released, including which vaccine was used and how the guards obtained it. Some senators moved to investigate, but Duterte ordered his guards not to appear before the Senate. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed Monday to get the pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympics this summer with ample coronavirus protection. In a speech opening a new parliament session, Suga said his government will revise laws to make anti-virus measures enforceable with penalties and compensation. Early in the pandemic, Japan was able to keep its virus caseload manageable with non-binding requests for businesses to close or operate with social distancing and for people to stay home. But recent weeks have seen several highs in new cases per day, in part blamed on eased attitudes toward the anti-virus measures, and doubts are growing as more-contagious variants spread while people wait for vaccines and the Olympics draw closer. The health ministry also reported Monday that three people who have no record of recent overseas travel had tested positive for the new, more easily transmitted coronavirus variant first reported in Britain, suggesting that it is making its way in Japan. Suga said his government aims to start vaccinations as early as late February. Japan has confirmed more than 330,000 infections and 4,500 deaths from COVID-19, numbers that have surged recently though they are still far smaller than many other countries of its size. — A Chinese province grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases is reinstating tight restrictions on weddings, funerals and other family gatherings, threatening violators with criminal charges. The notice from the high court in Hebei province did not give specifics, but said all types of social gatherings were now being regulated to prevent further spread of the virus. Hebei has had one of China’s most serious outbreaks in months that comes amid measures to curb the further spread during February’s Lunar New Year holiday. Authorities have called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools closed a week early and conducted testing on a massive scale. Hebei recorded another 54 cases over the previous 24 hours, the National Health Commission said on Monday, while the northern province of Jilin reported 30 cases and Heilongjiang further north reported seven. Beijing had two new cases and most buildings and housing compounds now require proof of a negative coronavirus test for entry. — Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has unveiled a new 15 billion ringgit ($3.7 billion) stimulus to bolster consumption, with the economy expected to reel from a second coronavirus lockdown and an emergency declaration. Muhyiddin obtained royal consent last week to declare a coronavirus emergency, slammed by critics as a desperate bid to cling to power amid defections from his ruling coalition. The emergency, expected to last until Aug. 1, doesn’t involve any curfew or military intervention but suspends Parliament, halts any election and gives Muhyiddin’s government absolute power, including in introducing new laws. It came at the same time as millions in Kuala Lumpur and several high-risk states were placed under a two-week lockdown to halt a surge in coronavirus cases. Muhyiddin on Monday acknowledged concerns over the emergency but repeated that it was only aimed at curbing the coronavirus. He said the economic impact from the lockdown will be manageable because more activities are being allowed this time. He said the stimulus will provide more funds to battle the pandemic and support livelihoods and businesses. A businessman has filed a lawsuit challenging the emergency declaration and the opposition plans to appeal to the king to rescind his support. Malaysia has recorded more than 158,000 coronavirus cases, including 601 deaths. — Nepal’s health ministry says the country's first cases of the new, more infectious coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom have been confirmed in three people who arrived from the U.K. The ministry said Monday that samples from six people who arrived in Nepal last week were sent to a laboratory in Hong Kong with the help of the World Health Organization. Three of the people — two men and a woman — tested positive for the new variant, it said. Two have recovered and one is still sick, the ministry said. Nepal has recorded 267,322 coronavirus cases, including 1,959 deaths. The Associated Press
PERTH COUNTY – In the fallout of the recent issues at Perth County council, many residents were curious how the local political scene is organized. The short answer is much like a relationship status on social media – it’s complicated. Even in North Perth, which is wedged between Huron and Wellington counties, the distribution of municipal responsibilities differs from our neighbouring communities across those county lines. North Perth Mayor Todd Kasenberg said the Perth County powers are very minimalist. He feels that the division of power between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government seems to have been predicated on the idea that the less responsibility the county has, the better. The Municipal Act is a consolidated statute governing the extent of powers and duties, internal organization and structure of municipalities in Ontario, but the act gives leeway for the distribution of responsibilities of the upper and lower tiers of local government. Municipalities are governed by councils which make decisions about financing and services. In Ontario, the head of a lower-tier council is called the mayor or the reeve and the members of council may be called councillors or aldermen. The way councillors are elected differs from municipality to municipality. Municipal councillors may be elected at large or by ward. The Municipality of North Perth is comprised of three wards: Elma, Listowel and Wallace Wards. Voters in each ward can choose only among the candidates who are running for election in that ward. For example, if a municipality has eight council members and four wards, two councillors will be elected from each ward. Each voter chooses two candidates from among the candidates running in that ward. In each ward, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will serve on council. In a municipality where the councillors are elected at large, all councillors represent the entire municipality. In an election, the voters choose among all candidates who are running in the election. The head of council is always elected at large by all of the voters in the municipality. The county council is composed of designated elected members from the lower-tier municipalities. The composition of Perth County council is determined by a Restructuring Order that came into force on Jan. 1, 1998; North Perth and Perth East each have three representatives and West Perth and Perth South have two representatives each. Each December, county council itself selects its head, who is called warden, from among its members. Depending on its size and its history, a local municipality may be called a city, a town, a township or a village. They are also referred to as lower-tier municipalities when there is another level of municipal government like a county or region involved in providing services to residents. There are several separated towns and cities in Ontario and although they are geographically part of a county, they do not form part of the county. Local examples of this are the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys. These are single-tier municipalities. A county or regional government is a federation of the local municipalities within its boundaries and they are referred to as upper-tier municipalities. Since the 1990s the provincial government has been encouraging municipal governments to amalgamate with a view that the municipal government provides services most cost-effectively and efficiently. Some local governments joined together voluntarily to achieve sustainable services and municipal infrastructure. In other cases, the province had facilitated amalgamations of municipalities through restructuring commissions and special advisors. Progressive Conservatives under the leadership of Mike Harris in the 1990s implemented changes in responsibilities of local government which led to a massive wave of municipal mergers. The most important changes saw some counties and regional municipalities merge with their constituent local municipalities. As a result, the number of municipalities was reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1996 and 2004, from 815 to 445. In January of 2009, that number went to 444. Consolidation of municipal service management has resulted in the creation of 47 Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs) across the whole province. In southern Ontario, the CMSM area is frequently aligned along the upper-tier boundary and includes a separated town or city if one exists within its geographic boundary. The service manager can be either the upper tier or the separated municipality. Under municipal leadership, CMSMs are implementing a more integrated system of social and community health services for delivery of Ontario Works, child care and social housing. When looking at services provided to residents, it is important to understand how municipal governments relate to the other orders of government in Canada – the provincial and federal governments. Although North Perth CAO Kriss Snell said municipal staff are happy to point residents to the proper level of government to get the help they need, there are many duties a municipal government is too small and localized to service. Separating the duties of the provincial and federal government from the shared duties of the municipal tiers will give citizens an idea of what their local government cannot help them with. The federal government has the big powers “to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada” except for subjects where the provinces are given exclusive powers. Among the many exclusive powers of the federal government are citizenship, criminal law, copyright, employment insurance, foreign policy, money and banking, national defence, regulation of trade and commerce and the postal service. According to the Constitution Act, 1867, everything not mentioned as belonging to the provincial governments comes under the power of the federal government. The provincial government has the power to enact or amend laws and programs related to the administration of justice, education, hospitals, natural resources and environment, property and civil rights in Ontario and social services. The province directly funds or transfers money to institutions to ensure the delivery of these responsibilities; provincial highways, culture and tourism, prisons and post-secondary education. The provincial legislature also has power over all municipal institutions in the province so the powers of municipal governments are determined by the provincial government. Municipal governments in Ontario are responsible for providing many of the services within their local boundaries that residents rely on daily such as airports, paramedic services, animal control and bylaw enforcement, arts and culture, child care, economic development, fire services, garbage collection and recycling, libraries, long-term care and senior housing, maintenance of local roads, parks and recreation, public transit, community planning, police services, property assessment, provincial offences administration, public health, sidewalks, snow removal, social services and housing, storm sewers, tax collection and water and sewage. However, there is some leeway in the way these duties are divided up between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government. “You can look at Oxford, at Wellington, at Huron and you’ll see that those counties have more power and they do more because the lower tiers have consented to upload some of that stuff,” said Kasenberg. “I think that’s because over history those lower-tier governments just felt they didn’t have the resources and it made more sense to have a centralized function and do this efficiently for three or four of them.” Looking at the model of upper-tier municipal government in midwestern Ontario, Kasenberg said Perth County is the leanest of all. “There has been a longstanding reluctance to give the county any significant authority or power over things that are lower-tier matters,” he said. Municipal governments in Ontario spend billions each year to provide the public services that meet these important needs of Ontario residents. Most of the money for financing these services comes from the property taxes paid by residents and businesses. Additional funding comes from user fees or non-tax revenue such as parking fines. Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of a property by a tax rate which is made up of two parts; the municipal tax rate, which is set by the upper and lower-tier municipal governments, and the education tax rate, which is set by the provincial government. A municipality can set different tax rates for different classes of property. The main classes include residential, multi-residential, commercial and industrial. The services the County of Perth is responsible for are economic development and tourism, emergency management, paramedic services, provincial offences court, prosecution services, administration and collection of fines, archives services, county planning, county roads, bridges, traffic signals and controls and tax policy. Several services are paid proportionately by the county but delivered by local partners such as social services, delivered by the City of Stratford, health services, delivered but Perth District Health Unit, seniors services, delivered by Spruce Lodge Homes for the Aged, and cultural services, delivered by the Stratford Perth Museum Board. North Perth and the other lower-tier governments across the county provide animal control and bylaw enforcement, municipal elections, fire services, libraries, policing, licensing, local roads including sidewalks, planning and zoning, parks and recreation and property tax administration. So, dear resident of North Perth, this may not have been the most exciting thing you’ve read today, but perhaps it will clear up what local level of government you need to contact when satisfying your municipal needs. Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts in December fell compared with November. CMHC says the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for all areas in Canada, excluding Kelowna, B.C., fell 12.2 per cent in December from November. The December survey was not conducted in Kelowna due to the pandemic. The annual pace of urban starts fell 12.8 per cent in December as urban starts of apartments, condos and other types of multiple-unit housing projects dropped 15.1 per cent. Single-detached urban starts fell 5.5 per cent. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 22,373 units. Despite the drop in December, CMHC says the six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts climbed to 239,052 units for the final month of 2020, up from 236,334 in November. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
MILAN — Stellantis, the car company combining PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, was launched Monday on the Milan and Paris stock exchanges, giving life to the fourth-largest auto company in the world. Stellantis shares rallied 7.6% in Milan to 13.53 euros ($16.32). CEO Carlos Tavares said during a virtual bell-ringing ceremony that the merger creates 25 billion euros in shareholder value. “The focus from day one will be on value creation from synergies, which will increase competitiveness vis-a-vis its peers,” Tavares said. Stellantis has a new logo and will launch on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, due to the Monday U.S. bank holiday, followed by a press conference with Tavares. Chairman John Elkann, heir to the Fiat-founding Agnelli family, said that the new company has “the scale, the resources, the diversity and the knowledge to successfully capture the opportunities of this new era in transportation.” The technological shift includes electrified powertrains as well as moves toward greater autonomous driving. The merger is aimed at creating 5 billion euros in annual savings. The new company will have the capacity to produce 8.7 million cars a year, behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan. Fiat Chrysler, which was created from the merger of the Italian and U.S. car companies in 2014, closed Friday down 4.35% at 12.57 euros, having gained in previous days. Its closing market capitalization was under 20 billion euros, far off its 2018 highs of more than 30 billion euros. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
WINGHAM – North Huron Food Share reported a 77 per cent increase in the need for emergency food boxes last month, compared to last year. Joyce Johnston, a board member for the agency, told Midwestern Newspapers that overall, the numbers are up 23 per cent, including more seniors and new residents. Approximately 87 new families were added to the number of clients they provide for, 2020 seeing 211 families compared to the 140 families assisted in 2019. Board member, Roxane Nicholson, said 50 families utilized the food share program when they opened their doors for the first time in 2021, up from 30 – 35 families reported in previous years. The board members want to acknowledge the community’s overwhelming support and the generosity of their landlord, Doug Kuyvenhoven, plus the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, who are crucial for their ability to fulfill the increased needs of the community. The increasing necessity for assistance prompted Kuyvenhoven to expand the current facility, as reported by the Wingham Advance Times in Nov. 2020. The new space is now open, the extra 300 square feet help to ease the congestion. “Between the increased volume, the addition of deliveries, and our attempts to follow COVID-19 protocols, the new space will take the pressure off the congested space we were working in,” Kuyvenhoven said, adding “the new number system of calling customers in one at a time ensures that customers and volunteers are able to maintain proper physical distancing.” The food share program receives fresh food every Monday from the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, and thanks to the new space and the recently purchased walk-in freezer, they can store, package and deliver more fresh produce along with other goods. They also share the donated items with the local Salvation Army who runs their own food distribution agency. The current needs include a request for cash gifts to fill the gap left after receiving donations. Volunteers can use the cash to purchase items at a reduced price at local grocery stores. Foodbank Canada said on their website that “providing food to those in need can be difficult at the best of times. With COVID-19, that task just got harder. Yet food banks continue to be leaders in their communities to provide food to those who live with food insecurity. “Food Banks Canada is in regular contact with the network of food banks across Canada, and already there are signs of COVID-19’s devastating impact on the food bank system: Food banks are already seeing drastic declines in the number of volunteers that can support their work in the days/weeks ahead. Food banks are concerned about the amount of stock they have access to, as a dwindling workforce means fewer pickups. Most food banks are worried about how to support themselves through this crisis and beyond financially. While the public prepares for possible impacts of COVID-19, food bank users cannot afford the same measure, leaving them more vulnerable. Food banks are adapting to these rapidly changing circumstances, but it is clear that help is needed.” To donate cash or food or apply for a hamper, contact the North Huron Food Share program at 519-357-2277 ext. 4, or visit them on their website at nhfoodshare.ca. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Il y a quelques mois, le Québec a fait connaissance avec la pétillante Julie Munger, lors de son passage à l’émission Occupation Double Chez nous. Maintenant que la poussière est retombée, la jeune femme est de retour dans sa réalité, qui a changé du tout au tout, à Chicoutimi. Elle compte maintenant profiter des nombreuses occasions qui se présentent. La maquilleuse est revenue vivre dans sa maison de Chicoutimi, dont elle avait pris possession au début de l’été. Elle vit maintenant avec une amie, ce qui fait que le temps passe beaucoup plus vite, surtout en confinement. « Le retour à ma réalité, qui n’est plus ma réalité, c’est sûr que c’est de l’adaptation. Mais je suis vraiment contente d’être retournée dans mes affaires, dans ma maison, de faire de petits travaux. Ça m’a permis de me remettre à neuf, de prendre un nouveau départ », avoue la candidate d’OD Chez nous, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Progrès. Une année de surprises Julie Munger n’en revient pas : sa dernière année fut remplie de surprises. De son passage à l’émission à aujourd’hui, elle n’avait jamais vraiment pensé à tout ce qui s’offrirait à elle. La Saguenéenne a été complètement sous le choc d’avoir été choisie la candidate coup de coeur de sa saison, à l’automne. Même si plusieurs personnes de son entourage l’assuraient qu’elle serait choisie, elle n’y a pas cru jusqu’à la dernière seconde. « Je ne voulais pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué. Je croyais que plusieurs personnes avaient des chances. Mais ç’a été un gros tsunami d’amour et j’ai beaucoup pensé à mon père », avoue-t-elle. Sa mère lui disait souvent : « Pour être aimé, il faut être aimable ! » La maquilleuse pense l’avoir bien écoutée. La Saguenéenne ne s’était pas non plus imaginé toutes les portes qui allaient s’ouvrir à sa sortie de l’aventure. Les Québécois ont déjà pu la revoir à l’écran à quelques reprises, en quelques mois, et c’est loin d’être fini. Après l’avoir vue dans le vidéoclip de la chanteuse Roxane Bruneau, les téléspectateurs ont pu l’apercevoir dans le Bye bye 2020, une émission qu’elle écoute chaque année avec sa famille. « Ç’a été tourné la dernière fois que je suis allée à Montréal, juste après le tournage de L’heure de vérité. Personne ne savait que je me rendais là-bas. Ce qui était drôle, c’est que j’étais la seule candidate qui se personnalisait soi-même. C’est vraiment une fleur que l’équipe du Bye bye m’a faite », admet-elle. C’était une première expérience de tournage de sketches, à l’écran, ce qui est bien différent de ce à quoi elle est habituée. En plus, il y avait une foule de mesures de distanciation en place, ce qui rendait l’expérience d’autant plus particulière. Elle a d’ailleurs beaucoup aimé ce tournage et a même eu l’occasion de rencontrer Stéphane Rousseau et Simon-Olivier Fecteau. Elle a également animé une émission spéciale, en direct d’Instagram, jeudi, organisée par Tel-jeunes, avec une foule de personnalités québécoises à titre d’invités. La soirée avait pour but de divertir les jeunes, qui vivent des moments plus difficiles avec ce nouveau confinement. La suite Julie Munger profite du confinement pour travailler de la maison. Puisque le domaine de l’esthétique est sur pause, elle s’occupe en réalisant différentes collaborations publicitaires sur les réseaux sociaux, pour de nombreuses compagnies. Une foule de projets sont sur les rails, mais la candidate coup de coeur ne peut pas en dévoiler les détails pour le moment. En entrevue avec Le Progrès, elle a précisé que ce n’était pas l’envie qui manquait, d’en dire un peu plus, mais la jeune femme a promis qu’elle pourra en révéler davantage prochainement. Pour le moment, elle admet que l’un de ses projets touche le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. « Je prône toujours la région. Je veux montrer aux autres qu’elle est incroyable, à quel point elle est belle et que c’est beau d’y vivre. J’ai travaillé fort pour avoir un projet en lien avec le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean », se réjouit-elle. La candidate, qui a participé à Occupation Double pour promouvoir la diversité corporelle, entre autres raisons, sait qu’elle ira probablement plus souvent à Montréal dans les prochaines années, pour différents projets, mais elle tient à rester dans la région, qu’elle considère comme un gros terrain de jeu extérieur.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Moscow is ready for a quick deal with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to extend the last remaining arms control pact, which expires in just over two weeks, Russia's top diplomat said Monday. Months of talks between Russia and President Donald Trump's administration on the possible extension of the New START treaty have failed to narrow their differences. The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5. Biden has spoken in favour of the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president, and Russia has said it’s open for its quick and unconditional extension Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference Monday that Moscow is ready to move quickly to keep the pact alive. “The most important priority is the absolutely abnormal situation in the sphere of arms control,” Lavrov said. “We have heard about the Biden administration’s intention to resume a dialogue on this issue and try to agree on the New START treaty's extension before it expires on Feb. 5. We are waiting for specific proposals, our stance is well-known and it remains valid." New START envisages the possibility of its extension for another five years, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is ready to do so without any conditions. The Kremlin also has voiced readiness to prolong the pact for a shorter term as Trump's administration had pondered. The talks on the treaty's extension have been clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States that have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Sunday's arrest of Putin's leading critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow after his return from Germany where he was recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin would further cloud Russia-U.S. ties. Joe Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called on Russian authorities to free Navalny. “Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable,” Sullivan said in a tweet. New START was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. Arms control advocates have strongly called for its preservation, warning that its expiration would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, striking a blow to global stability. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
WINGHAM – The Wingham Columbus Centre needs help, General Manager of the centre, Susan Doig said in a letter to council in November. “Most of the 2020 bookings are just a rental, off-site drop off or a takeout meal. We have no way to generate the revenue in this pandemic, with the restrictions put on our limits to using our inside spaces,” she said in the letter. Doig wrote the letter to open a discussion with council to see “what could be done,” specifically regarding their semi-annual payment that helps to cover the cost of utilities and pay down the North Huron Wescast Community Centre deficit. “Usually, I count on the revenue from the Christmas season to help make our December payment, but this year is an exception to that rule.” She added, “We have been trying to plan different take-out options and have upped the game on the homemade soups and TV-style dinners, but that isn’t nearly enough business to come up with $16,554.50.” According to a report presented to council on Jan. 11, “Upon receipt of the letter, staff met with the General Manager of the Wingham Columbus Centre to discuss the situation and gather more information.” In late December, a second meeting was held with Doig, Coun. Palmer and the North Huron director of recreation and community services. Similar to the other local facilities, the Wingham Columbus Centre has pursued various opportunities to generate revenue and mitigate costs. These opportunities include: -Application for the received 75 per cent wage subsidy for the 12-week period it was available. They were able to secure an interest-free loan from the government. The funding received was used to pay the first installment (in June 2020) for utility costs as per the agreement with North Huron. -They investigated the rent subsidy program through the government. The group found they were not eligible for the funding because the wording in their lease agreement does not indicate they are paying for “utilities” or the “lease” of the facility. -The heat/air settings in the facility were lowered to reduce costs. -Decreased cleaning staff hours as a result of there being no rentals -Have been communicating with their MPP and MP with respect to financial support being needed. -Monitoring government websites and investigating new funding programs announced that support COVID-19 recovery. -They have also been holding monthly Fish Fry’s (pickup only) and organized additional luncheon/supper meals (pickup only) as fundraisers.” The Wingham Columbus Centre’s lease agreement requires an annual financial contribution of $41,800. The commitment has three sections, $19,300 goes towards utility costs, $10,000 to the payment on the overall deficit of the community complex and $12,500 towards a pledge made by “each of the Knights personally,” for the construction of the facility. The Knights have indicated that they will be able to make good on their annual pledge payment. “After a lengthy discussion the agenda item was deferred until the Feb. 1 council meeting to allow for council to be circulated with a copy of the current agreement and potential deferral payment options,” Carson Lamb, clerk of North Huron, said in an email. Additionally, the North Huron Wescast Community Complex was broken into last month, as reported by Wingham Advance Times. $180 cash was stolen and a canvas bag from one of the offices was taken. OPP are actively investigating this incident. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
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
Residents of the Edmundston region are on edge after a COVID-19 outbreak at a poultry plant forced the area back to red-phase restrictions. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, announced 24 new cases in the Zone 4 region on Sunday. The jump in cases included 11 linked to Nadeau Poultry after mass testing, bringing the entire region to 76 active cases. While the Edmundston region had been on high alert over the past week, the single-day spike came as a surprise. Deputy Mayor Eric Marquis said two dozen cases were more than he could have anticipated. "We were aware that we were pretty close to red after the meeting we had with Dr. Russell this past Friday," he said in an interview. Marquis said he is urging residents to stay home as much as possible. "I'm pretty sure if we do that we're going to be back to orange and we're going to be back to yellow in the upcoming weeks," he said. Some businesses close The move to the red phase means some businesses in the area are forced to close, including gyms, spas, barbershops, hair salons and bars. Cathy Pelletier, executive director of the Edmundston Chamber of Commerce, said many anticipated the rollback to red. Some restaurants had already switched to take out and delivery under the orange phase. Under red restrictions, dining rooms must close. Pelletier said the business community remains hopeful the red phase will be brief and quickly improve the situation. "There will be some impact in the community for the businesses, the hair stylists, the gyms, everything that has to be closed once again," she said. "But a lot of them are pretty resilient." Retail businesses can remain open under COVID-19 operational plans. Plan in place for poultry supply chain The Madawaska region produces most of New Brunswick's chicken and is home to three processing facilities. Thomas Soucy, the president and CEO of Groupe Westco, said his poultry operation in Clair is also at risk of COVID-19. The company has employees that commute from Quebec and truck drivers that travel across the country but has yet to report a case of the illness. "It could have happened to anyone," he said in an interview. "We feel the pain the industry and our competitor is experiencing." A poultry plant in Berwick, N.S., was forced to halt operations last month after an outbreak including six cases. Soucy said the facilities in the Madawaska region helped out Eden Valley Poultry during the temporary closure. Groupe Westco would be prepared to step in if Nadeau is impacted. "The last thing we want to have to do is be forced to euthanize the chickens at the farms," he said. "There's not just us, the plants in Quebec, we all work together to make sure there's the least impact possible on the food chain." Nadeau Poultry is about 40 minutes west of Edmundston within the municipality of Haut-Madawaska. The processing plant has about 240 employees, according to Pelletier. Jean-Pierre Ouelette, the Haut-Madawaska mayor, said the sudden outbreak shows how no one is sheltered from the pandemic. "We need to be even more careful in trying to avoid spreading it," he said. Teachers expected schools to close New Brunswick's red phase guidelines initially included moving schools online. But Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced a change in plans on Sunday. "We're working to keep students in school as much as possible to help support our public health goals," he said. The New Brunswick Association of Francophone Teachers said its members are concerned about returning to the classroom and the decision to keep schools open came as a surprise. President Gérald Arseneault said teachers expected schools to close under the red phase and were prepared to switch to virtual learning. "All of a sudden, only a few minutes before the government announcement, they told us it wouldn't be the case," he said. "We can't forget that our teachers are also parents and worried like the rest of the community about this situation." If a case is confirmed at a red-phase school, it will close for three days. This will allow time for contact tracing and turning the building into a testing site. Students and staff will also be actively screened each day and those with one symptom will be asked to stay home. Pelletier said the community is upset over the decision to keep schools open. She's planning to keep her son home for a couple of days to see how the situation unfolds. She said about 30 part-time employees at the Nadeau poultry operation are students at Cité-Des-Jeunes-A.-M. Sormany, the high school in Edmundston. "A lot of people are worried why the schools are still open," Pelletier said.
BRUSSELS — Women in Europe doing jobs requiring the same skills as jobs done by men are still being paid significantly less, according to a study by the the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). The major trade union organization, which represents 45 million members in 38 European countries, compared wages in two countries from Western and Eastern Europe — Germany and Romania — looking at women working in the sector of household appliances and men working in car manufacturing. The organization looked at several criteria including skills, physical effort and responsibility. It compared full-time workers of the same age and with a permanent contract working for medium-sized companies. In Germany, ETUC said, women in the white goods sector earn €865 less per month in gross income than men making cars, for jobs requiring similar skills. In Romania, where wages are significantly lower, the average difference in net income is €244, ETUC said. “Comparing the pay of women and men in the manufacturing sector shows clearly how women are paid less even when their jobs require the same levels of skill and physical effort as those of men,” ETUC deputy general secretary Esther Lynch said. “The COVID crisis has also exposed the deep-rooted bias behind wages for professions dominated by women, with carers and cleaners recognized as ‘essential’ despite being amongst the lowest paid.” Last year, using data from the EU's statistical office, the trade union organization said women would have to wait for another 84 years and the next century to achieve equal pay at the current pace of change. ETUC called on the European executive commission to quickly come forward with its pay transparency directive. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had planned to present measures to introduce binding pay transparency measures in the first 100 days of her mandate, but the proposals have yet to be unveiled. “Quality is more important than speed in this case,” EU commission spokesman Christian Wigand said. “We'll come forward with proposals in the coming months." The Associated Press
Starting next week, Austria will introduce a similar rule nationwide.View on euronews
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
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
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
Timo Werner was the headline signing in Chelsea’s $300 million off-season spending spree, a player whose pace and composure in front of goal would supposedly help transform the team into a Premier League title contender. So how has it got to the point where, four months into his time in London, the Germany international has endured his longest scoring drought in nearly five years, is no closer to finding his best role in the team, and was the third and final striker called upon by manager Frank Lampard in a desperate bid to break the deadlock in Chelsea’s most recent game? Werner’s brief appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday was a snapshot into the problems of a player who looks bereft of confidence midway through his first season in English soccer. With Chelsea toiling at 0-0 against opponents down to 10 men at Craven Cottage, Werner was finally sent on as a substitute in the 75th minute. By then, Lampard, who started Olivier Giroud as the sole striker, had already brought on another striker in Tammy Abraham. Werner played like someone with one goal to his name in the last two months for club and country, particularly when he was played through on goal deep in injury time and handed the perfect chance to add a second goal for Chelsea. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Werner opened up his body and sent his finish wide. His body language, after that miss and moments later after the final whistle, spoke of an unhappy player, and he was consoled by Lampard as the teams left the field. “Being hard on himself isn't a problem. I hope he feels my support,” Lampard said. “The only way through a patch where things aren't quite going for you is to train and train, keep your attitude right, stay positive.” That must be hard for Werner. Since Nov. 14, the only goal he has scored in all competitions for Chelsea was a tap-in against fourth-division club Morecambe in a third-round match in the FA Cup. That came on Jan. 10 and ended his longest scoring drought — 13 games — since the end of the 2015-16 season, his final weeks at Stuttgart before he joined Leipzig. In four seasons at Leipzig, he never went more than five games without scoring and netted 35 times for club and country in the 2019-20 campaign, his last at the club. While Werner chiefly operated as a sole striker at Leipzig with the license to drift out wide or to drop into the No. 10 position, he has mostly been used on the left wing since his move to Chelsea for $68 million as Lampard dealt with injury issues to his wide midfielders. He has looked lost out wide in some matches, unable to use his pace against opponents often set up in a deep block against Chelsea. It’s no surprise that Werner’s best display of the season was at home against Southampton, when Werner played as a central striker and made the most of the high line to score two well-taken individual goals and set up another for Kai Havertz, another German who has struggled since his off-season switch to Chelsea. It was presumed Chelsea’s ideal front three this season would be Werner up front, flanked by wingers Hakim Ziyech — another of the new signings — and Christian Pulisic, but Lampard has rarely had that luxury. Even when he did, like in the 3-1 loss to Manchester City this month, it didn’t work out well. Lampard suggested recently that Werner, who has only four goals in the Premier League so far, may not have had as many games as he’d like as the sole striker because he didn’t press enough from the front. “It’s normal for Timo and others who came in the forward areas for us to take some time to get used to what my idea is, what their teammates’ idea is, because we haven’t had working time on the pitch,” Lampard said. Yet Werner said in his introductory media conference in September that he’d had a lot of conversations with Lampard — and been sent videos from the coach — about Chelsea’s style of play, and that he joined with the feeling that “the system he wants to play will fit me very well.” That doesn’t appear to be the case. And, when Chelsea heads to Leicester for a Premier League game on Tuesday, it's not obvious whether Werner will be starting on the left, up front, or if he'll be back on the bench. “When you're a top player, as Timo has shown he is, all eyes are on and it becomes magnified," Lampard said. "But the basics are the same and my job is to tell him that." ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
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
Calgary, Regina, Houston – One of the first acts of Donald Trump as president of the United States was to invite TransCanada, now TC Energy, to resubmit its Keystone XL pipeline application, and to then approve it. Now, it is looking like one of the first acts of President-elect Joe Biden, after his inauguration, may be to kill it, and revoke the Presidential Permit for the pipeline to cross the international border. Numerous media stories the evening of Jan. 17, including CBC, Reuters and CTV, reported that Biden may cancel the Presidential Permit as early as his first day in office. Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. The 830,0000 barrel per day pipeline is supposed to run from Hardisty, Alberta, past Shaunavon, to Steele City, Nebraska, eventually connecting to oil hub of Cushing, Oklahoma. The southern portion of the pipeline, which runs from Cushing to the U.S. Gulf Coast, was completed under the Obama administration. Up to 15 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity had been designated for North Dakota oil production. Current maps don’t show the lateral pipeline to North Dakota, but the specs for a recently completed Canadian pumping station list it at 700,000 barrels per day capacity, which would leave room for that American oil to be added downstream. Ironically, the most contentious portion of the pipeline – the international crossing which required a Presidential Permit, was one of the first things completed when construction got underway in 2020. That 2.2 kilometre long-section of pipeline crossed the border in May, 2020, in the RM of Val Marie, southeast of Shaunavon. Usually the border crossing is the ceremonial last weld, not the first, on such pipelines. The reason the pipeline was not completed within the four years of the Trump administration was due to multiple court delays, several from one particular judge in Montana. In one of those rulings in November, 2018, U.S. Federal Court Judge Brian Morris said the greenhouse gas emissions of the Enbridge Alberta Clipper pipeline, which ran on a different route and was owned and operated by a completely different company, should have been considered in the Keystone XL evaluation. But he did not mention anything about the recently completed and operational Dakota Access Pipeline, which handles North Dakota oil. As a result, the Keystone XL pipeline, which had been cancelled by the Barrack Obama/Joe Biden administration in 2015, is not anywhere near completion. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney bet heavily on the project – figuratively and literally, with Alberta investing $1.5 billion into it to get construction going in 2020. The announcement at the time noted, “This investment includes $1.5 billion in equity investment in 2020, followed by a $6 billion loan guarantee in 2021.” Construction work has already taken place within Alberta, including 145 kilometres of pipe already put in the ground, and the recent completion of the Bindloss Pump Station. Construction was supposed to get going through southwest Saskatchewan this year to the American border. Kenney posted on Facebook the evening of Jan. 17, “I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week. “Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-US relationship, and undermine US national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future. “In 2019, the United States imported 9.14 million barrels per day of petroleum, 3.7 million of which came from Canada. The rest comes from countries, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, none of whom share the commitment of Canada and the United States to environmental stewardship, combatting climate change, or North American energy security. “As President-elect Biden’s green jobs plan acknowledges, Americans will consume millions of barrels of oil per day for years to come. It is in perfect keeping with his plan that the United States energy needs should be met by a country that takes the challenges of climate change seriously. “The Keystone XL pipeline also represents tens of thousands of good paying jobs that the American economy needs right now. That is why major American labour unions who supported President-elect Biden’s campaign strongly back the project, as do First Nations who have signed partnership agreements, and all state governments along the pipeline route. “As the Government of Canada has said, building Keystone XL is ‘top of the agenda’ with the incoming Biden administration. Prime Minister Trudeau raised the issue with President-elect Biden on their November 9, 2020 telephone meeting, agreeing “to engage on key issues, including … energy cooperation such as Keystone XL. “We renew our call on the incoming administration to show respect for Canada as the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally by keeping that commitment to engage, and to allow Canada to make the case for strengthening cooperation on energy, the environment, and the economy through this project. “Should the incoming US Administration abrogate the Keystone XL permit, Alberta will work with TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.” Premier Scott Moe posted on Facebook the evening of Jan. 17, “It’s very disappointing to hear reports that President-elect Biden is planning to shut down the Keystone Pipeline expansion on his first day in office. “Construction of this project should be a top priority for Canadian-U.S. economic relations. It is critical to North American energy security, will have a tremendous employment impact north and south of the border and has garnered significant indigenous support. Environmentally, Keystone will reach net-zero emissions when it first turns on, and will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. “While I am urging the prime minister to leverage his relationship with Mr. Biden, Saskatchewan will continue exercising our contacts in Washington D.C. to advocate for the continuation of this project that clearly benefits both of our nations.” TC Energy responds with green announcement In an 11th hour move, TC Energy put out a press release from Houston on a Sunday evening, stating on Jan. 17, “Keystone XL commits to become the first pipeline to be fully powered by renewable energy.” “The company will achieve net zero emissions across the project operations when it is placed into service in 2023 and has committed the operations will be fully powered by renewable energy sources no later than 2030. This announcement comes after an extensive period of study and analysis, and as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, thoughtfully finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while providing communities with reliable energy needed today. “Since it was initially proposed more than 10 years ago, the Keystone XL project has evolved with the needs of North America, our communities and the environment,” said Richard Prior, president of Keystone XL. “We are confident that Keystone XL is not only the safest and most reliable method to transport oil to markets, but the initiatives announced today also ensures it will have the lowest environmental impact of an oil pipeline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Canada and the United States are among the most environmentally responsible countries in the world with some of the strictest standards for fossil fuel production.” The release added, “As part of its continued commitment to working with union labor in the U.S. and Canada, Keystone XL has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) to work together on the construction of TC Energy owned or sourced renewable energy projects.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
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