Tropical Storm Eta was squatting off western Cuba on Tuesday after drifting away from South Florida, where it unleashed a deluge that flooded entire neighborhoods and filled some homes with rising water. (Nov. 10)
Tropical Storm Eta was squatting off western Cuba on Tuesday after drifting away from South Florida, where it unleashed a deluge that flooded entire neighborhoods and filled some homes with rising water. (Nov. 10)
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Paul Lavoie est devenu le nouveau directeur général de Tourisme Côte-Nord le 13 janvier. M. Lavoie assurait l’intérim du poste de directeur général pour l’organisation depuis le mois d’août. Cumulant une quinzaine d’années d’expérience dans le milieu du développement économique et fort d’une « passion inconditionnelle pour la Côte-Nord », M. Lavoie sera chargé d’assurer la poursuite des efforts de promotion et de développement touristique de la région, est-il mentionné dans un communiqué de presse. « Je suis extrêmement content que nous ayons nommé Paul. Ce fut un processus de longue haleine, mais nous avons trouvé le meilleur candidat pour ce poste », exprime le coprésident du conseil d’administration de Tourisme Côte-Nord et maire de l’île d’Anticosti, John Pineault. Paul Lavoie remplace Mario Cyr, qui avait quitté la tête de Tourisme Côte-Nord en août.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Residents who have been missing a backyard fire can now apply for burn permits online, as well as in person at the fire station on Mahood Johnston Drive. As of Jan. 15, residents wishing to purchase a permit online have been directed to https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginto set up an account. Once that is complete, payment can be made online through ‘Square One’ with debit or credit. Cash purchases should be made in person. Fire prevention officer Shane Watson suggests that anyone purchasing a permit should read the terms and conditions carefully, so they are informed as to what the permit entitles them to do and conditions they must adhere to. The type of permit purchased determines the length of time it is valid for and the cost of the permit. A recreational burn permit is valid for the calendar year in which it is purchased, and costs $20, as does the open air burning permit. An agricultural burning permit is valid for seven days and costs $20. The special occurrence burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate. The cost of the permit is $20. A house, barn or similar burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate, and is only valid for one day. The cost of the permit is $50 and those applying for this permit are asked to see the terms and conditions in open air burning permits, for additional instruction. All permits, except the recreational burning permit, require the permit holder to notify (844) 777-0443 before any burning takes place. The terms and conditions also list all items that can and cannot be burned. If applicants have additional questions not covered on the https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginwebsite, they do have the option of calling Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services for assistance. Do not call 911, call the fire station at 519-396-2141 or email email@example.com. “Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services are always trying to serve the community as best we can,” said Watson. “This new online process adds another layer to allow the community to apply for burn permits online from the comfort of their home, while still offering in-person service for those that choose to do so. Safety is always our priority and we also recognize the times we are currently in. This is another reason why we are launching the online platform, to promote people and families staying at home while continuing to attain what they need, whether it’s an approved fire to clear brush for crops, or a camp fire with your loved ones.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
While it wasn’t on the agenda for Whitestone’s Jan. 18 council meeting, the West Parry Sound wellness centre project is becoming a hot topic. At the beginning of the meeting, Coun. Joe Lamb asked to have a discussion on the project and stated that ratepayers wanted further information since the public meeting Dec. 14. “People have been sending comments in since November,” said Lamb. “We asked them to ask questions ... we can’t not give them an answer.” According to Lamb, the municipality has received over 200 responses from Whitestone ratepayers on the topic of the wellness centre. “Councillor (Brian) Woods and I went in and painstakingly went through everything and I can tell you as of right now … that the tally (is) 278 responses from Whitestone voters,” he said. “Of that figure, 218 are against this project, and 60 of them are for the project.” Coun. Joe McEwen interrupted Lamb’s comment on the number of votes, asking if council was going to get into this type of analysis when the item hadn’t been up for discussion on the agenda. Lamb continued to have the floor and emphasized that tension over the pool project was not as simple as a seasonal resident vs. full-time resident argument. “There are many local people who live here full time who are against the project or for it as there are seasonal people,” said Lamb. “We need another meeting on the pool before funding comes down (to) go over all the questions and get the proper answers.” McEwen said that he agreed with some of what Lamb said but was disappointed that “he threw those numbers at us like he did,” adding that the numbers were for councillors to review to aid in deciding on the project. “ … I agree that we’ll have to have a special meeting on it, and I hope we don’t turn it into a referendum-type-thing, which is borderline what’s happening here,” said McEwen. Whitestone ratepayer, Charles LaRose asked if council would be doing a cost-benefit analysis of the nursing station expansion versus the pool. “When I saw that nursing station proposal go by and I see it getting cut from 1,500 to 1,000 square feet my first reaction is someday you’ll look back and say, ‘jeeze we should have made it 1,500 square feet,” LaRose said during the virtual meeting. Doug Hickey, who has been vocal online about Whitestone’s potential financial contributions to the wellness centre, asked council during the meeting if the pool group decides to add more facilities would Whitestone be locked into paying 6.1 per cent of any added facility. “I don’t know if council realizes how interested the community is in the pool,” said Hickey. “It’s a major expenditure, and if you think back to the CAC, the citizens advisory group, 80 people answered that survey. And based on what Coun. Lamb said, over three times that many people have already provided input (on the wellness centre), so there’s a lot of hunger to know what’s going on.” Whitestone did not set a date for when it would be holding further discussion on the project. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
OTTAWA — Canada's national annual inflation rate was 0.7 per cent in December, Statistics Canada says. Here's what happened in the provinces (previous month in brackets): — Newfoundland and Labrador: 0.6 per cent (0.8) — Prince Edward Island: -0.1 per cent (-0.5) — Nova Scotia: 0.6 per cent (0.2) — New Brunswick: 0.4 per cent (-0.4) — Quebec: 0.8 per cent (0.8) — Ontario: 0.7 per cent (0.9) — Manitoba: 0.1 per cent (0.6) — Saskatchewan: 0.9 per cent (0.8) — Alberta: 0.8 per cent (1.3) — British Columbia: 0.8 per cent (1.1) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021 and was generated automatically. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
The chief of the Shawanaga First Nation near Parry Sound said he is confident the majority of his people will want to get vaccinated against COVID 19. However, Chief Wayne Pamajewon said he understands the reluctance of some to get the vaccine, adding that it is their prerogative. The chief said he did not have an exact date on when the vaccine would reach his territory. He said he fully understands the reasons some of his people are reluctant to get the vaccine shots, particularly in light of the troubling history of the treatment of Indigenous people in the Canadian health-care system. However, he is advising his people to take the vaccination program seriously. “I think there are a couple of leaders within my council who are a little leery of this COVID needle. I’ve been a diabetic for 37 years. A needle to me means nothing,” the chief said. “I have never pushed my people to do anything they didn’t want to do. The call is probably going to be put into their hands. I can’t make them do that. I refuse to do that. The Great Spirit will work with them on that one.” The chief said he has every reason to believe his people will continue to follow COVID-19 protocols and he is cautiously optimistic that the territory will continue to remain coronavirus-free. Chief Pamajewon said the community has only had to address one COVID case — a student who does not live on the Shawanaga First Nation but attends school there was confirmed to have had the virus last month. That youngster has since self-isolated and has been declared COVID-free. There was no transfer of the virus to his community members. “We isolated that case right away because we were notified about it. We sent all the children from that community where the child was from home because they attend our school. It’s just lucky that we cut it off at the right spot and it went nowhere,” the chief said. “All the contacts came back negative. That was great that we were able to stop it right in its tracks before it got into our community.” The chief went on to say that he and his membership will abide by the latest provincial lockdown protocols, but he wanted to make it clear he does not necessarily classify himself as an Ontarian, but a member of Turtle Island, (the Indigenous term for North America). “Maybe what could’ve happened was that (the restrictions) had been tighter and longer from the beginning. I don’t think we locked the door tight enough,” Chief Pamajewon said. “I don’t think Premier Doug Ford had any choice, especially in the hot zones. But even some of our political leaders are (travelling). You can’t tell someone to do something and you turn around and you don’t do that. What is that? To me that’s wrong.” Pamajewon said that since the pandemic began, no one on the territory has been issued a ticket for hosting large gatherings at their home. “We don’t want our people to be charged or anything like that. What we want is preventive policing. We’ve had co-operation from our people to be mindful of gathering together. I’ve even approached some of their bonfires and talked with them to remind them to be mindful of the rules in place,” Chief Pamajewon said. John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
C’est en présence virtuelle de Marguerite Blais, ministre responsable des Aînés et des Proches aidants, que l’Appui a procédé au lancement «Au-delà des mots : paroles de proches aidants». «À travers sept chapitres, Édith Fournier et Michel Carbonneau plongent le spectateur dans leur parcours de proche aidant. Dans ce récit à deux voix, Édith et Michel racontent, en alternance, ce qu’ils ont vécu auprès de leurs conjoints atteints de la maladie d’Alzheimer», indique l’organisme qui contribue à améliorer la qualité de vie des proches aidants. Cette série documentaire, accompagnée d’outils d’animations proposés aux personnes intervenantes et soignantes de tous les réseaux (milieu communautaire, réseau de la santé, secteur privé, etc.), a été scénarisée par Guillaume Chouinard, réalisée par Josué Bertolino et produite par Les productions vives. «Mme Fournier et M. Carbonneau se livrent avec franchise et humilité pour nous décrire les difficultés qu’ils ont traversées, les choix déchirants qu’ils ont dû faire, mais également les moments de bonheur, de complicité, de joie qu’ils ont vécus. J’ai personnellement eu l’immense privilège de rencontrer à plusieurs reprises Édith Fournier et Michel Carbonneau. Leurs témoignages à titre de personnes proches aidantes démontrent la force et la sensibilité dont ils ont su faire preuve durant toutes ces années où ils ont pris soin de leur être cher… Et la crise sanitaire nous le rappelle, les personnes proches aidantes sont essentielles dans notre société», souligne la ministre Blais. Notons que l’on peut visionner la série en se rendant sur le lien suivant : https://appui-audeladesmots.ca. À propos de l’Appui Créé en 2009, l’Appui pour les proches aidants contribue à améliorer la qualité de vie des proches aidants et à faciliter leur quotidien en veillant notamment à ce qu’ils tirent pleinement profit des ressources mises à leur disposition. L’Appui est présent partout au Québec, grâce à 17 Appuis régionaux et une entente spécifique pour les Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James. Chaque bureau régional soutient les organismes locaux voués au bien-être des proches aidants, et ce, afin d’offrir à ces derniers des services adaptés dans leur milieu. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
THUNDER BAY — The Thunder Police Services Board received a progress report on the 44 recommendations handed out by the Office of the Independent Police Review during Tuesday’s board meeting. Legal counsel for the Thunder Bay Police Service, Holly Walbourne, presented the second yearly report to the board on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and outlined the service’s progress on all 44 recommendations. In December 2018, a 300-plus page report by the OIPRD detailed failings on the part of the Thunder Bay Police Service to address the policing needs of Indigenous people in the community. One of the most significant recommendations in the report recommended the reinvestigation of nine sudden deaths involving indigenous people by a multi-discipline team. The OIPRD recommended the cases be reopened because the initial investigations lacked quality. On Tuesday, Walbourne informed the board the re-investigations are still ongoing and further updates will come from the executive governance committee. Other completed recommendations reported on Tuesday included the recommendation of the police force to make the wearing of name tags on the front of police uniforms mandatory for all officers. According to the report, as of August 2020, all name tags were ordered and are now considered a permanent part of an officer’s uniform. After the presentation by Walbourne, board member Michael Power stated he would advocate for updates on the report to be reviewed at every board meeting rather than an annual review. “We as a board own this report,” Power said, adding transferring the written report to a grid format where recommendations can be labelled as completed or not completed in terms of progress could also be beneficial to share with Indigenous leaders and communities to evaluate the police force's progress on the report. "We can get into more significant conversation about what has been done as a result of implementation, what needs to be done and improve the level of understanding," he said. Also on Tuesday, the board discussed the implementation of in-car and body-worn cameras. Police said in their report capital funding has been secured to actualize the project and the service will be announcing the rollout of the project by the end of the first quarter of 2021. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Dan Taddeo said providing the board with a solid timeline for the implementation of the program is difficult. For the full progress report presented during Tuesday’s meeting go to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Family doctors in Alberta want to help give COVID-19 vaccinations but say the province has yet to tap them for help. "Family doctors have largely been left out of the conversation about the distribution and administration of vaccines in the province," said Dr. James Makokis, a family physician with practices in Edmonton, Kehewin Cree Nation who also works with an addictions and mental health practice in Toronto. Makokis said family doctors are in a good position to help because they know which patients meet the criteria for vaccinations and could help identify them. He said family doctors have their patients' trust and can answer questions they might have about the vaccine. While there are challenges that would make it difficult to store the vaccines in most family clinics, he said, many of the other roughly 5,200 family doctors in the province would be willing to attend AHS vaccination sites to help with injections. "If there was opportunity for, you know, late night shifts or weekend shifts when people can be vaccinated, many physicians would make themselves available to meet the needs of that," he said. Makokis said the province needs to engage with doctors, and wonders if the series of recent clashes between the provincial government and physicians has become a barrier. "My sense is their ego has gotten in the way to reach out for help," he said. Alberta Health spokesperson Tom McMillan said family doctors have yet to be tapped simply because of limited supply of the vaccine, and the province recognizes the important role doctors and others could play when there is more vaccine to go around. On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney said Alberta was on track to use up its current supply by the end of that day or early Wednesday. "Right now, we have a very limited amount of vaccine available," McMillan said in a statement. "This is why we are currently focusing on the priority groups in Phase 1, which can most effectively be immunized directly through AHS personnel. As the available supply of vaccines increases, we will expand our approach." He said the province will continue to work with pharmacists, physicians and other health professionals on options for rolling out vaccines on a broader scale, and an update will be provided to the public in the coming weeks — including information about how different providers will be compensated for giving vaccine. Dr. Craig Hodgson, the family medicine section president of the Alberta Medical Association, said discussions have been held over the course of the pandemic about different ways family doctors could be involved in the vaccine rollout, but so far there hasn't been much interest. "Largely, we … certainly haven't received much in the way of a response in terms of wanting us to be involved," Hodgson said. In his own practice in Whitecourt, he said, patients have asked questions about the vaccine, and the relationship people have with family practitioners can be a way to address hesitancy concerns. Dr. Vishal Bhela, president of the Alberta College of Family Physicians, said the college has also been involved in a number of conversations, and while they recognize the issues of limited supply and ensuring that specific high-risk groups get shots first, they still hope to see family doctors looped in as the program expands. "We're hopeful that there will be a recommendation about the important role that family physicians can play in a successful COVID-19 campaign," he said. "Patients trust us, they have long-standing relationships with us, they approach us with questions and already have been," he said.
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
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SHERBROOKE – By day, Karen Hallet works a phone as an administrative assistant at Historic Sherbrooke Village. But at night, when the winter wind whips, she solves crimes most foul as a detective in the rolling English Cotswalds. Or maybe she’s a famous chef, or a brilliant quilter, or an expert on British heraldry. It just depends on what dog-eared or peculiar paperback she finds to read at the bottom of a simple wooden box situated along an unprepossessing stretch of Second Street. “We call it our ‘Little Free Library’,” she says. “It’s three feet by two feet with a glass door and no lock. It can hold probably 30 paperbacks and 15 or so hardcovers. Anybody who comes through the town can stop there and, maybe, take a book or leave one. We keep an eye out and if it gets empty, we just fill it back up. We have quite a few volumes right now.” By “we” she means she and her friend Angelina Jack, supervisor of Historic Sherbrooke Village’s interpretation group. About three years ago, they assumed responsibility for the little library when, she says, the local writers’ guild scaled back. “It was their initiative originally. We’ve been looking after it.” Actually, they’ve been curating it and, most recently, promoting it to bibliophiles around the world on the Little Free Library’s website (yes, it’s a thing), littlefreelibrary.org/. Says Hallett: “We just registered ourselves there. If people are travelling and are familiar with the site, they can find little free libraries in towns and villages and countrysides. It’s a wide-open thing. They are popping up everywhere.” Indeed, Little Free Library says it’s “is a non-profit that builds community, inspires readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries. Through Little Free Library book exchanges, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.” Since its formal founding in 2009 (though the concept is probably as old as reading, itself), “LFL has been honored by the Library of Congress and the National Book Foundation for its work in creating book access for so many people,” according to the parenting advice website Scary Mommy scarymommy.com/. “There are over 100,000 registered LFL boxes in 50 [U.S.] states and 108 countries. The non-profit has seen more than 165 million books shared and is about to add even more titles and opportunities to the mix.” Certainly, Hallet and Jack are doing their best. “We also take books here at the main administration office at the Village,” Hallet says. “There’s been an initiative to build a new, little park in Sherbrooke. We hope to put our library down there… This whole thing is built with the purpose of having books available to anyone coming through.” And come through they do. Before COVID, she says, “People have come from all over the world. We’d fill it up quite often in the summertime… In future, when they go with a book, once they read it, we hope they’ll see another little free library in Canada, or Maine or Texas or wherever, and they’ll drop off the book they got here.” Not that any of this will replace the status quo. Nor should it. That book about the detective in the Cotswalds? Says Hallet: “I got that one through our main library here in Sherbrooke.” Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Planning is important in this province’s tourism industry, and with only a short window to make things happen, operators must be ready and on schedule to welcome visitors at peak times during the tourism season. That was disrupted last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the province was cut off to outside visitors. The importance of having a plan heading into the 2021 season is paramount as the tourism sector stares down the barrel of a second season limited by the pandemic. “It is important that the plan is being worked on,” said Hare Bay Adventures owner Duane Collins, who is also with the Shore Tourism Association. “I think it is important that it is relayed to the industry broadly … and then it lets us communicate that to our guests and to the companies we work with.” The pre-election announcement of a tourism action group was a welcome one for operators across the province and seen as a good start, Collins said. On Jan. 15, the government announced the 14-member Premier’s Advisory Council on Tourism. The government pledged to spend $1.12 million over three years to support Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador as it prepares the tourism and hospitality sector for a post-pandemic recovery. That money is coming through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement. That means the industry wasn’t overlooked at the time, but there is still a question of how the group will look or operate in the wake of the election on Feb. 13. “I want to hear about a plan on how we open the province back up,” said Collins. “Not saying any particular date, because that is beyond our control, frankly.” For Collins, clarity and transparency will be important as that plan continues to evolve. There must also be an effort to work with the industry, he said. Janet Davis had conversations last summer with plenty of people who had never before been to her home of New-Wes-Valley. The owner of Norton’s Cove Studio and Café in the Brookfield part of the community, Davis found those conversations usually included a line about having little knowledge of her part of the province. “The staycation has been really good for my business,” Davis said of what brought those people to her door. As the election campaign begins to ramp up, how the next provincial government is going to help tourism operators in the future is at the top of a lot of operators' minds. For some, like Davis, want to continue to push people to explore their province as they did last summer through the Stay Home Year 2020 campaign. “Keep promoting our own,” said Davis. “It’s great to have your own people supporting you. “We have to keep promoting our own people.” Deborah Bourden says the number of people who will explore their own province next summer is just a fraction of what is needed to keep the tourism sector going. There also must be an effort to maintain the tourism department’s current pot for marketing initiatives, she says. That means having the next government maintain the current level of funding being put into marketing initiatives, both locally and abroad. “We don’t want to see any less in marketing,” said Bourden, who is the co-owner of the Anchor Inn Hotel & Suites in Twillingate. If things start to open back up to national and international travel next fall, then a part of the tourism plan will need to look at how best to get those people into the province, she says. “We have to be prepared so we can come out of the gate strong next year this time,” said Bourden. “We have to be thinking about what we need, and we need to be prepared for that.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and stronger foreign demand is brightening the outlook for the Canadian economy in the medium term, the Bank of Canada said on Wednesday, as it held its key overnight interest rate at 0.25%. But the central bank warned the economy would contract in the first quarter of 2021 amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and lockdowns, with inflation not expected to return sustainably to target until 2023, keeping interest rates at record lows.
CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) will not get liftoff as early as the company had hoped. Just more than four years ago, in Oct. 2016, MLS was formed in Nova Scotia to create a spaceport in Canso. In some of the earliest press releases about the proposed project, MLS stated the estimated timeline for first launch capability was 2020. And, although COVID-19 has created a Groundhog Day effect, time has continued to move forward – the calendar has turned to a new year, and MLS has yet to break ground on the Canso Spaceport facility. MLS CEO Steve Matier told The Journal on Monday (Jan. 18) that the delay could be attributed to several causes including, most recently, the wrench the global pandemic has put in every plan – be it business or personal. In addition, Matier said the original 2020 launch date was based on getting shovels in the ground in 2018. That wasn’t possible, as it took until June of 2019 to get the Environmental Assessment (EA) approved by the Department of Environment. And, he said, “There’s the whole land lease issue working with [Nova Scotia] Lands and Forestry; that takes time as well.” At this point, the company is working to meet the terms and conditions in the 2019 EA document, which include associated activities involved with designs for roads and buildings; plans for erosion and settlement control; analysis of potential impacts to watercourses and existing water users; environmental monitoring plans and more. “Within that approval (EA) was the rather lengthy list of compliance pieces that we need to get to them to review,” Matier told The Journal, adding that no construction could take place until the information supplied by the company was accepted by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Matier said he hoped they could move to breaking ground on the project in six months’ time, but “it’s hard to predict exact dates,” due to the time it takes for review and approval. Given that the Department of Lands and Forestry accepted the company’s draft survey for the lease of Crown land required for the project just before Christmas, the wheels of government can be seen to move forward. Once the project moves past approvals, and on to groundbreaking, Matier said it could be another two years before the first launch. “We require about 18 months of construction activities and six of commissioning before you can get to an actual launch.” While there have been delays, Matier told The Journal the company has potential clients lined up and waiting. “We have a fairly extensive set of letters of intent and MOUs with satellite developers and aggregators already, but these don’t turn into formal launch contracts until the point when we can tell them what that actual launch date is. Once we break ground, we’ll be in a much better position to project what the launch date is and start to turn those letters of intent into launch contracts.” Progress on the project has been slow this past year, and there has been little to report, which may have pleased some people in the Canso/Hazel Hill area who are opposed to the spaceport. Matier said, while the company is aware of the opposition, MLS would not have selected the site without support from the majority of community members. “We really started this initiative by working with the community, first and foremost,” he said, adding that the company has held open information sessions and met with stakeholder groups like the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Fishermen’s Association. “We have sought input and will continue to do so. We’re not about to ram this through … we have been open and honest about everything we are planning to do,” Matier said. The Environmental Assessment Approval, dated June 4, 2019 states that work must commence on the project within two years of the approval date; beyond that time, a written extension must be granted by the provincial environment minister. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
"We have a common investment in the international rules-based order and I welcome President Biden’s intentions for the U.S. to re-join the Paris Agreement and halt its withdrawal from the World Health Organization." "President Biden’s message of unity as he takes office is one that resonates with New Zealanders and, on behalf of New Zealand, I wish him well as he begins his presidency."
Edmonton International Airport officials are guardedly optimistic about the expansion on February 1 of the COVID-19 international border testing pilot program. Currently the pilot is only available to eligible international travellers arriving at the Calgary airport and the Coutts land border crossing. Those participating in the program entering Canada will have to show proof of a negative test — taken within 72 hours before the flight — before being allowed to board the plane destined for the province. Once they arrive in Alberta, they're tested again and must quarantine for 48 hours. If the second test result comes back negative, they can leave quarantine as long as they remain in Alberta for the first 14 days and get a followup test a week later. "We believe this is a great program," EIA vice president Steve Maybee said. "We have to put these in place so when travel does come back and people are encouraged to travel again, that we have the right programs in place to make it safe." Currently, both the federal and provincial governments are discouraging unnecessary travel. Maybee said the EIA isn't encouraging people not to follow the advisories. "We're not suggesting or encouraging travel right now," Maybee said. "We're following along with what the government restrictions and mandates that are in place." Edmonton travel agent Lesley Paull thinks the expansion of the pilot program is a sign of better days ahead for local travellers. "I think it's just going to give people more encouragement to go," she said. "We don't have as many flights as Calgary has, so we'll probably be starting a slower process, but hopefully with testing here, that will bring us more non-stop flights back." The testing is free of charge for eligible participants and the pilot will run until 52,000 people have been tested. No international flights for six months in 2020 at EIA Based on 2020 travel numbers, it may take awhile to get to that 52,000 mark. EIA said 2.6 million people went through their airport last year, compared to 8.1 million the year before, for an overall drop of 67.7 per cent. There were no international flights at all between April and September and flights to the United States were down 78.5 per cent. There was also a 70 percent decrease in domestic flights coming in and going out of the Edmonton airport. The travel agent summed up her business in one word. "Brutal," Paull said with a laugh. But she hopes pent up demand will lead to change. "We're doing so many bookings for 2022 now, and even the end of 2021," Paull said. "I think that people are so anxious to get out of here. They're really quite sick of the whole thing."
The mayor of King Township has taken on a new role – to help conserve and preserve our heritage. Mayor Steve Pellegrini has been appointed as a member of the Ontario Heritage Trust. The Trust has a province wide mandate to conserve, interpret and share Ontario’s heritage. It acts as a centre of expertise, and serves as the heritage trustee and steward for the people of Ontario. It conserves provincially significant cultural and natural, tangible and intangible heritage, interprets Ontario’s history, celebrates its diversity, and educates Ontarians of its importance in our society. “The Ontario Heritage Trust is a great fit for me as King is rich in its places and landscapes, histories, traditions and stories that embody our heritage,” he said. “This is a true opportunity to demonstrate excellence in the conservation and stewardship within the province’s heritage that reflect our diversity and complexity.” The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Its mandate is to: • Advise and make recommendations to the Minister on any matter relating to the conservation, protection and preservation of the heritage of Ontario. • Receive, acquire and hold property in trust for the people of Ontario. • Support, encourage and facilitate the conservation, protection and preservation of the heritage of Ontario. • Preserve, maintain, reconstruct, restore and manage property of historical, architectural, archaeological, recreational, esthetic, natural and scenic interest. • Conduct research and implement educational and communications programs necessary for heritage conservation, protection and preservation. For more, visit https://heritagetrust.on.ca/ Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel