A long-time familiar face in the Hudson’s Hope medical community has retired. Long-time resident and nurse Susan Worrall Soderstrom retired this summer after nearly 30 years serving the community. Soderstrom says her career has been a good one, and says she’s glad she stayed to practice in the small community, often filling much need gaps in medical services. “I’ve got good memories here, people growing up and moving on with their lives. It’s nice to see the generations come through and getting to know everyone,” said Soderstrom. “I went into it because I care about people.” Soderstrom started her career in the Prince George Regional Hospital, working in pediatric intensive care for several years, before moving back to Hudson’s Hope. “It was a big change coming from pediatrics to working with all the adults as well,” said Soderstrom. “But it was a good asset to have, with all the children in town here.” Soderstrom also worked in maternity and end of life care in Prince George. “Right from birth to holding their hands when they leave this world, I’ve done it all,” she said. “It was a great asset to have that experience.” Soderstrom says she’s seen a lot working in the small community — a sinkhole at the WAC Bennett Dam in 1996, fires in 1997, and working out of the District Office basement in 1995 while the current clinic was being built. “That was challenging, working out of the basement,” said Soderstrom, laughing. “The stairs. That was the hardest part, it wasn’t easy having to haul people up and down them.” Since then, Soderstrom has been a regular ‘Jill of all Trades’, stepping in over the years to help fill prescriptions and even taking courses to keep the heating system on at the clinic. Soderstrom says she’s looking forward to taking some time to work on some passion projects. “It’s been busy. You get in that work mode and it’s hard to get out of it, I’ve got to learn to relax and pace myself I think,” she said of retirement. “Once I get myself organized and sorted, I’d like to do some more watercolour painting and photography. Do some artsy stuff. I haven’t been able to do watercolours for six or seven years, just because it’s been too busy with work and home.” Northern Health is currently recruiting for a casual primary care nurse for Hudson's Hope. Email reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com.Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: Local communities continue to report a number of active COVID-19 cases. On Sunday, November 29th, the Durham Region Health Department reported the highest number of new cases of the virus in the region, at 130. As of press time, the Durham Region Health Department is reporting Uxbridge continues to have the highest number of active cases in North Durham, with five people listed in isolation. The Durham District School Board reports three cases have been confirmed at Uxbridge public school, with two classes listed in isolation. The Uxbridge community has had 131 confirmed cases to date, with 105 listed as resolved and 21 deaths. Scugog currently has one case listed in isolation, and 28 resolved cases. Brock Township also has one case in isolation, and 20 resolved cases. Meanwhile, the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health unit is reporting Kawartha Lakes currently has six unresolved cases of the virus, 174 resolved cases, and 32 deaths.Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
A Saskatoon man accused of robbing numerous businesses, residences and vehicles across central Saskatchewan was re-arrested. Cody Kemick, 37, failed to appear in court in October and was arrested and remanded in custody. At a bail hearing on Nov. 27 he was granted bail but he remains in custody because he hasn’t paid the bail for his release yet. Kemick and Chantal Dubois, 40, were arrested after police raided his Saskatoon home May 2. Police say that between Feb. 4 and April 26, 2020, they received numerous reports of break, enter and thefts across central Saskatchewan. Several police agencies worked together and Kemick was identified as the suspect. At Kemick’s home, police found computer equipment allegedly stolen from Western Wireless in Unity on April 18, 2020. They also located what they believe to be stolen tools, computers, electronic devices, ammunition, cheques, salon products, lottery tickets and clothes from businesses, residences and vehicles in Saskatoon, Unity, Lucky Lake, Dinsmore, Rosetown, Kerrobert, Aberdeen, Humboldt, Milden, and Conquest. Kemick was charged with three counts of break and enter, 10 counts of possession of stolen property, theft and mischief. Dubois was charged with break and enter, and seven counts of possession of stolen property. Dubois had also previously failed to appear in court and a warrant to hold was issued until Nov. 25. On that day a lawyer appeared on her behalf and the warrant was vacated. Dubois is now scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court on Dec. 16 to elect how she wants to be tried. Kemick is scheduled to appear next in Saskatoon Provincial Court Dec. 17, also to elect how he wants to be tried. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
A last-minute show of generosity by the Town of Penetanguishene will help out the Penetang Junior C Kings. The decision came out of Coun. George Vadeboncoeur’s persistence in finding a way to help out the team. That is why he came back to council at a recent meeting to propose that the Kings be offered a reduced ice-time rate. “We should charge the minor hockey rate that would end up saving the Penetang Kings about $1,900 in terms of their ice rates for the season,” said Vadeboncoeur, addressing council. “In the director's report, it was identified that three of the five teams that responded to the survey charged their junior C teams' minor hockey fees.” He said the Kings represented a great community asset, and that was why it was important to him that council support this move. “It is an important pastime in Penetanguishene and there's a lot of history with the Kings,” he said. “The town did receive a safe restart grant, so I think if we have a shortfall of revenue in the arena, some of that funding from the higher levels of government can be used to cover that deficit.” Jim Brown, president, Junior C Kings, said he was very pleased with the gesture. “This will definitely help out the bank account at the end of the day,” he said, adding, the team spends up to $25,000 per season for ice rentals. “I have to admit I was a little bit in shock to hear the great news. A very big thank you to the Town of Penetang. This will definitely help with the lost revenue from sponsors and fans, as we are a break even club at the end of the day.” Coun. Debbie Levy said she was in support of the motion, but wanted a clarification. “I think you did mention at the end of your motion that this is for 2021 as a COVID measure, or is this something you'd like to see ongoing?” she asked Vadeboncoeur. He elaborated that this request was just for this season. Mayor Doug Leroux said he could see the community value in the presence of the Kings. “The Kings have been with us for many many years,” he said. “They've been with us a long time and they bring a lot of entertainment and good to the community. I have no issue supporting this.” Sherry Desjardin, director of recreation and community services, wrote in an email that the rates for minor hockey for the 2020/2021 season are $128.26 per 50-minute session and will increase to $132.75 for 2021/2022.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
TORONTO — A coalition of about 50 retailers is calling on the Ontario government to lift COVID-19 restrictions for non-essential stores it claims is making things worse.In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott, the retailers argue that shutting down Toronto and Peel Region to restrict the virus's spread hasn't reduced the number of shoppers.Instead, consumers are funnelled into fewer, crowded stores and adjacent communities, which potentially creates greater health risk.The retailers say the current policy pushes more consumers to big-box and discount stores that remain open after being deemed essential, while thousands of small, independent and local stores are closed despite selling many of the same products.They say they have been forced to lay off workers instead of employing thousands of temporary people to handle the holiday sales rush.The business leaders are calling on the government to immediately open all retail stores in the province and impose a 25 per cent capacity limit on non-essential stores in lockdown regions."Large and small retailers need each other to create a vibrant retail ecosystem," said the letter signed by the heads of companies including Hudson's Bay, Canadian Tire, Birks and Ikea."Collectively, we are asking that you join with us in common cause and a shared commitment to keeping Ontario families safe and secure through this extraordinarily challenging period."The provincial government responded by noting the restrictions are aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians.Alexandra Hilkene, a spokeswoman for Elliott, said the government must limit opportunities for individuals to have close contact with others to help stop the spread of the virus.This includes allowing box stores to operate at half capacity."These necessary measures are being taken to limit community transmission of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province's most vulnerable populations," Hilkene wrote in an email Tuesday."To be clear, moving regions into a lockdown is not a measure this government takes lightly. However, as we have seen around the world, lockdowns are a difficult but necessary step to stop the spread, safeguard the key services we rely on and protect our health system capacity."She noted that the Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CTC.A)The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Sun Life Financial Inc. says its president and chief executive will retire next year.The Toronto-based insurance company says Dean Connor, 64, will depart Sun Life on Aug. 6.The company's current executive vice-president and chief financial officer, Kevin Strain, will take over Connor's presidential duties on Dec. 15.He will become chief executive when Connor retires and will continue working as chief financial officer until the company names a replacement in the first half of 2021.Strain joined Sun Life in 2002 as part of the acquisition of insurance company Clarica. He became CFO in 2017.Strain launched Sun Life Global Investments Asset Management and expanded the company's footprint to Vietnam and Malaysia, before climbing the company's executive ranks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020Companies in this story: (TSX:SLF)The Canadian Press
Downhill enthusiasts were out of the starting gate early as Castle Mountain Resort opened its doors this past weekend. The Huckleberry chair was operating Nov. 27 to 29 as part of the resort’s preview weekend. The opening marks the earliest that powder lovers have been able to visit the ski hill in over 10 years. With lockdowns and business closures an all-too-common aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic, the resort’s early opening is a welcomed positive achieved through co-operation between health officials and the Canada West Skiers Association. “It’s difficult to say there’s a bright spot in the middle of a terrible thing like a pandemic,” says Cole Fawcett, Castle Mountain Resort’s sales and marketing manager. “But in the ski industry, one of the bright spots of this whole thing is that the industry is closer than it’s ever been.” To ensure visitor safety at ski hills, individual resorts within the Association collaborated and received input from provincial health agencies to form a set of rules and guidelines for the 2020-2021 season. The result, continues Cole, is not only that safety measures will be consistent for ski resorts across Alberta and British Columbia but also the unity within the industry itself. “It’s been so heartwarming and wonderful that we’ve been working side by side with some resorts who we would consider to be some of our largest competitors,” he says. Safety measures at the hill essentially follow the public health recommendations for people to practise increased sanitization, physical distancing and wearing face coverings. Face coverings Face coverings are required at Castle Mountain when purchasing tickets, waiting in lift lines and riding the lift. Face coverings are also mandatory in outdoor areas where people may be gathering and while indoors. Visitors’ face coverings must be a solid piece of multi-layer fabric with a snug fit that fully covers the nose and mouth. Children five and under are the only exception to this requirement, though the ski hill also recommends they wear face coverings. Tickets and rentals For the 2020-21 season, no multi-day tickets are available. Only single-day tickets are offered, which can be purchased at www.skicastle.ca/tickets and on-site at the outdoor ticketing windows. The guest services area will be open only for people needing a season pass printed or replaced, as well as corporate ticket pickups, direct-to-lift upgrades and administration office inquiries. Currently, the ski hill does not anticipate needing to limit the number of daily ticket sales, though the number of guests will be monitored. Should public health restrictions increase in the future to limit visitors to the hill, season pass holders will have priority access.Rentals are still available through the Alpenland location at the resort. Visitors are encouraged to fill out their rental information before going to the hill online at https://bit.ly/RentAlpenland. Rentals can also be completed in person. Staff are available to help over the phone at 403-627-5389. Lodge Indoor spaces will be operating at reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing can be maintained. A dedicated entrance and exit has been established in the lodge to help manage the flow of visitors. No foot traffic will be permitted into the lodge through the snow school entrance. A valid season pass or day ticket is required to access the upstairs portion of the lodge. Bags, boots and other personal items cannot be left in the day lodge. Visitors are asked to store their items and change into their ski or snowboard boots in their vehicles. The downstairs area of the lodge is reserved for Castle Mountain staff only. Additional weatherproof shelters have been set up outside for guests wishing to warm up and enjoy their own lunch. Simplified food and drink options will be offered at the cafeteria and T-Bar Pub in order to balance health guidelines with service speed and guest needs. For the safety of visitors and staff, it’s asked that all visits to the lodge be less than 30 minutes. Guests using the outdoor eating areas are also asked to be aware of time so others can use the space. Additional sanitizing measures are in place to clean high-touch areas both during operations and after hours. Hand-sanitizing stations will be added to several base area locations. Lifts, snow school and cat skiing Cohorts and families are asked to ride the lift together. Single or double riders will not be forced to ride with anyone outside their cohort. Lift queue configurations will also be slightly different to facilitate physical distancing. While most snow school programs will still be available, supervised lunches and childcare services will not be provided this season unless specifically offered through a program, such as Little Castle Club. Private family lessons have also been added as a program option. Castle’s Powder Stagecoach cat-skiing operation is also continuing this season with minor adjustments. Group sizes have been reduced to one group of up to 12 guests each day. As a result, cat skiing is now being offered five days per week. Staff will no longer sit in the passenger cabin to facilitate guest comfort. Face coverings are mandatory inside the stagecoach, with all guests receiving a complimentary two-layer neck tube. The stagecoach and avalanche equipment will be sanitized at the end of each day. Season goals The staff at Castle Mountain are excited about bringing skiers and snowboarders world-class runs in an enjoyable, safe experience. While business profitability is important, Cole says the season’s measure of success is going to be much different than years past. “The main measurement of success is going to be: did people enjoy themselves, did they do it safely, were our staff safe, [and] did they enjoy themselves as much as possible given the circumstances,” he says. Learning through the experience, he adds, is also an opportunity for the resort to improve operations. “We hope that we take some of the practices that we’ve implemented that maybe actually enhance the experience of our guests and continue them on an ongoing basis.” Additional information is available on the resort’s website, www.skicastle.ca. A special page dedicated to Covid-19 measures will be updated as needed at www.skicastle.ca/covid19. Visitors are also encouraged to call 403-627-5101.Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze
Vous êtes féru de déco et toujours à la recherche d’une pièce rare ? Du beau, du vrai, de l’original, voilà ce que vous propose Création Déco. Pascal Baldini, 59 ans, et sa conjointe Dany Poulin, décoratrice intérieure, apportent une note de bon goût à toute demeure. L’ingéniosité de Pascal consiste à donner une seconde vie à des matériaux destinés à être jetés. Autrefois photographe, Pascal Baldini a toujours été animé par sa fibre artistique. Avec l’Internet et les portables, la photo classique en a pris pour son rhume. « Le bateau s’est mis à couler, et en 2014, j’ai tiré la plogue, explique-t-il. Je suis devenu artisan design. Je crée des meubles d’appoint et des sculptures avec des matériaux recyclés. Ma passion, c’est de travailler le bois et le métal. J’explore sans cesse… J’aime découvrir, développer des façons de faire peu communes. Je joue avec mes matériaux, et je me laisse aller ! » Des innovations étonnantes Ce défi de fabriquer du mobilier écoresponsable est populaire de nos jours. « On est rendu là!, poursuit M. Baldini. La réutilisation de matériaux destinés au rebut est une puissante source d’inspiration pour les designers. Et je peux les trouver un peu partout ! Certains me proposent des stocks de bois qu’ils gardent dans leur grange. J’ai récupéré des lames de scie d’un entrepreneur. Il en va de même pour le granit ou le marbre provenant des fabricants. Souvent, il s’agit d’échantillons dont ils ne peuvent se servir. » Longtemps, l’argument anti-métier d’art a été le prix, jugé trop élevé… « Ce n’est pas mon cas, précise-t-il. Certains estiment même que je ne vends pas assez cher ! J’aime offrir mes créations à prix accessible. Par exemple, je viens de terminer une patère innovatrice en bois d’acacia avec banc intégré à 225 $, ce qui est fort raisonnable. J’offre des sculptures réalisées avec différents médiums, notamment du marbre, dont les prix varient entre 50 $ et 80 $. » Ici comme ailleurs, la pandémie a frappé. « On devait participer à 13 expositions, notamment à Saint-Siméon, dans Charlevoix, un peu partout, et tout a été annulé, confie-t-il. Cela dit, ça ne va pas m’arrêter ! Je planche sur un gros projet rassembleur qui verra le jour dans quelques mois… Je vous en reparle ! » Originalité et style au rendez-vous. Pour votre déco ou un cadeau de Noël unique ! facebook.com/creationdeco.ca creationdeco.caMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
Albertans feeling cooped up by COVID-19, can take solace in some winter sunbathing. A high-pressure system hovering over Western Canada means the forecast across the province for the week ahead is downright balmy. By the weekend, most Alberta communities will hit double-digit highs. And the unseasonably mild temperatures will be accompanied by sunny, cloud-free skies, perfect for working on your tuque tan. A high of 10 C is expected in Edmonton on Sunday. Calgary will be even milder with a high of 17 C expected by Monday afternoon. Even northern communities like Fort McMurray will get a taste with a long-term forecast free of any icy wind chill. "This is almost tropical in a way," said Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. "It's clearly an atmospheric gift. You don't expect weather like this." The temperatures started to thaw over the weekend, melting mountainous snow banks, turning roads into skating rinks and giving sun-loving Albertans a welcome reprieve from winter temperatures. The province is being temporarily shielded from the cold by a massive flow of pressurized, sinking air, Phillips said. "It's like putting a dome over the Prairies and it doesn't allow any kind of weather to get in. "You're squeezing in all those air molecules; they're jiggling and jaggling and creating all kinds of heat. And this is what makes it so, so unseasonably mild. "And it doesn't matter where you are. It's not just that Edmonton's getting all the good weather. The entire region is getting this gorgeous kind of weather." 'Sweater weather' The temperatures expected are about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than average for this time of year, Phillips said. He said some temperature records could be broken but the most notable thing about this mild stint of weather is its duration. The balmy temperatures are expected to stick around for more than a week. "One- or two-day wonders are usually in the offing, but not a whole week or even longer with wall-to-wall sunshine, no weather to get in the way," Phillips said. "I mean, it's going to be well, not muscle shirts and tank tops, but hey, you'll be changing. "It'll be going to sweater weather rather than leather weather." After a frigid fall marked by the stress of the pandemic, the balmy forecast is likely a welcome weather anomaly. Phillips said temperatures will begin to cool off next week but the current forecast could be a tiding of things to come. "I mean, we've never cancelled winter in Alberta and we're not going to this year, but we certainly think that December looks milder than normal. "And you know, when you can claim that winter is maybe only three months long instead of five months long, you're already ahead of the game."
The chief of the Shawanaga First Nation northwest of Parry Sound says two new businesses in his community will help spur economic growth and secure a better future for his people. Chief Wayne Pamajewon says a new service centre is set to open in the spring and the territory’s long-awaited cannabis store could possibly open later this month. The cannabis store is set to open behind the community’s existing gas bar. “Over the years, one of the shortfalls that we’ve always encountered is the shortage of revenues to be able to do the things that we want to do. We’ve always had to wait with our hands open. I think we’re going to change all of that now by building in the economic development for our community,” the chief said. The territory learned back in July 2019 that the Ontario Gaming Commission awarded it a licence to operate a cannabis retail store. It is one of eight First Nations in the province to receive a licence. Chief Pamajewon said that a lot of work has already taken place in order to get the store open. “We’ve hired a manager so we have a person that’s putting it together right now. The policies to govern this will have to be worked out,” said the chief. “The supply, we don’t know what that is yet, but I’m sure the individual that we have working for us will be working with his staff to put that together. We’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen.” Chief Pamajewon said that at this point, he sees no reason why people who don’t live on the territory wouldn’t be able to shop at the store, despite COVID, as long as all the necessary precautions are taken. He said he expects the service centre to open in mid-May of next year. The foundation is laid, he said, and the fuel tanks are in the ground. He added they are working with a couple of companies to see which one will operate the service centre. 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
Union representatives want to be involved in reforming a “toxic, racist” environment at York Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The Province is looking into allegations of harassment and racism, which surfaced this summer. In July, the government announced an operational review of YRCAS “Our government has been unwavering in our position that we have zero tolerance for racism, bullying and harassment. We want to ensure the health and well-being of staff at YRCAS. We also want to ensure that the children, youth and families of York Region are receiving the services they need and deserve.,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says front-line workers must have a real voice in finding solutions to address those toxic working conditions at York CAS. An independent probe has delivered a scathing review of the management at the CAS. Thomas says the society’s board of directors must include members of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 304 in drafting a 30-day work plan ordered by the provincial government. "An independent review has made it clear: the leadership at York CAS has failed the organization and the children it serves,” said Thomas. “Thanks to the tenacity and determination of the front-line workers at the agency, those leadership failures have now been exposed and confirmed. “If the agency is going to heal and begin moving forward again, those front-line workers must have a real say in the reforms that are long overdue.” The independent report ordered by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services found that senior management at York CAS has created a “toxic” environment in which a pervasive “culture of fear” and “racism and anti-Black racism” have left workers traumatized. The ministry ordered that report after the executive of OPSEU Local 304 did a survey of staff that found an overwhelming number were experiencing depression, panic, and emotional breakdowns because of the workplace culture. The agency now has 30 days to issue a work plan addressing the toxic workplace. The chair of the agency’s board of directors, Tahir Shafiq, held a meeting with staff about the report, but many were left disappointed. “For years, we’ve been telling the employer that we and the services we provide are hurting. And for months, the board has stood behind the senior managers,” said OPSEU/SEFPO Local 304 President Andrew Harrigan. “Even with this damning report in his hands, the board chair did little this morning to reassure us that the board is ready to take real action against the harassment and racism we face.” Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO first-vice president/treasurer said the board would be negligent not to involve the front-line workers in its plan for the future. “With courage and conviction, these front-line workers have been fighting for months to fix their broken agency,” said Almeida. “They’re a credit to children's aid because they're putting the families and children they care for above their own safety and security. “To not involve them in the needed reforms would be as shameful as the management malpractice that they helped expose.” Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
EARLTON – Skaters will have to lace up elsewhere in Earlton this year. Armstrong Township council agreed to not have ice installed this winter at the Earlton Recreation Centre. Options were discussed and the decision was agreed upon at council’s regular meeting November 25. Mayor Jean Marc Boileau asked council what they wanted to do in terms of having the ice installed or not. He commented that the town could create an outdoor ice rink outside of the Recreation Centre, but users still would need to come inside the building to put on their skates or use the washrooms. “We have washrooms here but then you also have the gym-goers on the other side,” he said. Issues also were raised that if the ice was installed, the town would have to monitor the number of users in the change rooms and building to remain in line with COVID-19 protocols. Councillor Kevin Léveillé noted that Earlton’s winter festival isn’t happening this winter and Boileau said that École catholique Assomption had told him that its students wouldn’t be skating at the arena this school year. Councillor Michèle Rivard commented that the Englehart and Area Community Arena Complex has its ice installed and that if Earlton didn’t put its ice in that “it sucks that we wouldn’t have ours open, but at least the kids could still do public skating and they would have to go there.” Councillor Matt Golcic said that he didn’t feel Earlton’s arena numbers were all that high anyway and wondered what they were last season. Boileau responded that the arena had about 342 users last winter and part of those numbers were children who would come over with the school, but also that it didn’t happen very often. “Last year was a bad year,” he noted. “I don’t know why.” Council then asked acting public works foreman Caleb Fotheringham what his thoughts were on having ice installed or not so that they could come to a consensus on a decision. Fotheringham said that with no school users or other events happening this winter that he would recommend that the town doesn’t have ice this year at the arena. “If you want to have ice, I’m sure we can make it work, but I would recommend (that we have) no ice.” Council agreed and approved a motion for an ice-free arena this season.Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
Public Health reported six new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Wednesday, including one in Edmundston (Zone 4), which has had few cases throughout the pandemic, and two in Bathurst.Here is the breakdown: * one person 50 to 59 in the Moncton region (Zone 1) * one person 19 and under in the Saint John region (Zone 2) * one person 19 and under in the Fredericton region (Zone 3) * one person 40 to 49 in the Edmundston region (Zone 4) * one person 50 to 59 in the Bathurst region (Zone 6) * one person 60 to 69 in the Bathurst region (Zone 6)All are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 514 and 388 people have recovered. There have been seven deaths, and the number of active cases is 119, with none in the hospital.As of today, 127,999 tests have been conducted, with 1,321 tests conducted since this time on Tuesday.Teachers feeling 'stressed,' concerned about studentsTeachers are feeling stressed and anxious throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Union says.Rick Cuming said teachers are also expressing concern for their students, colleagues and their own family members. "They're experiencing less preparation time," he said."They're experiencing more supervision to keep kids safe."He said teachers have been forced to supervise kids over recess and lunch, just to make sure no one is talking while their masks are off.Some teachers are even struggling to get someone to cover their class so they can go to the washroom.> What this year is about, is survival. \- Rick Cuming, president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Union"They really don't have any downtime whatsoever."And now, teachers are setting their sights on Christmas vacation at the end of the month."They're sort of pushing through to get there."Some students aren't even showing up to class due to the province's recent decision to roll back certain regions to the orange phase."That is the best place for students to get their social needs, their mental health, their overall well-being met," he said. "That's the best place for teaching to occur."During Tuesday's news briefing, Education Minister Dominic Cardy said New Brunswick students and teachers could get an extended holiday because of the pandemic."It is one of the measures that we are considering right now to see if it would allow us to reduce stress for the school staff and also students and their parents," Cardy said."But it is only one element on a long list of things considered every day," he said.The Christmas break is currently scheduled for Dec. 18 until Jan. 3.Cuming said he wasn't surprised by the announcement, as this has been happening in different jurisdictions across the country."What this year is about, is survival," he said.Hundreds answer Horizon callout for staffing helpHorizon Health Network says it has received hundreds of applications in response to a callout last week for retirees and students to bolster its staffing.In a Nov. 26 tweet, the health network said it was asking retirees, students and the community "to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak should the need arise."In an email, chief human resources director Maura McKinnon said Horizon has identified "an urgent need for staffing" at the Saint John Regional Hospital, as well as at assessment centres in Saint John and Fredericton.As of Wednesday, 260 people had put their hand up to help, and offer letters have been sent out to 37 people so far.Students and retired health-care professionals have been stepping up to assist since the early stages of our pandemic response, McKinnon said, noting "we have had retired physicians, clinicians and … other retirees" helping out in a variety of roles. New hires are now coming onboard daily.They're given mandatory e-learning and additional onsite orientation, and then will help fill a variety of roles, depending on their background experience, including: registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists, personal care attendants, medical laboratory assistants, environmental services and administrative staff and pandemic screeners."Not all of our staffing needs require direct patient contact," McKinnon said. "We place them only in settings or environments where they are comfortable working, and within the scope of their professional expertise or applicable licence."Shannex says latest test results are negativeShannex says it has received the results for tests done on Monday at Howe Hall and Millidge Hall, which are part of its Parkland Saint John campus, and is "pleased to report that all results were returned negative."Shannex Parkland has a total of 15 confirmed cases: 10 residents and four employees at Tucker Hall and one employee at Carleton Hall. Residents who tested positive are being cared for in a special area located on Simms Court, Shannex said in a statement posted on its website Wednesday.Results for testing conducted at Tucker Hall on Tuesday are expected within 24 hours. 100 international students feel isolated in MonctonStudents and administrators at the University of Moncton say they think adequate measures are in place to limit the spread of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.Three positive cases were confirmed there on Monday.Students federation president Alexandre Arseneau said there's been adequate information and limited activity on campus, but he'd like to see more resources put into mental health supports, especially for the approximately 100 international students who are essentially trapped in residence."If we want to prevent outbreaks, we need to make sure that these people don't feel the need to not follow the restrictions," Arseneau said."We need to make sure these students have all the help and everything they need."University president and vice-chancellor Denis Prud'homme said online medical and mental health services are available to students.Prud'homme said a survey was done at mid-term to see what was going well and what needed improvement.He said the university administration is asking professors to help identify and refer students in need."We asked the profs to be aware a little bit more this year because students are not in class, but to make sure they remind the students if they have any problems to make them known so they could recommend them to the services that are available for them."Arseneau said it's turning out to be a difficult and disappointing academic year."We've seen our tuition go up 16 per cent just during the global pandemic. And the quality of the education online often doesn't respect the norms."Prud'homme defended the value of education being delivered as "fair" and "good.""We believe that we provide the best quality in the situation of this crisis, just like every university," he said.N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 'Superspreader' event responsible for 80% of Saint John cases * He added that it would likely improve as professors get used to remote learning technology.The school is not currently considering offering any kind of rebate, he said, but it will try to keep fee increases for next year to a minimum, as it tries to deal with a $10 million deficit.Potential public exposure warnings for Saint John, Moncton, FrederictonNew potential exposure warning for flight into MonctonNew Brunswick Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on Nov. 28 while on the following flights: * Air Canada Flight 8372 from Fort McMurray to Calgary, departed 6:10 a.m. * Air Canada Flight 144 from Calgary to Toronto, departed at 11:15 a.m. * Air Canada Flight 8918 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:30 p.m.Public Health has also warned of the following possible exposures to the virus in the Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton areas, including gyms, stores, bars, restaurants and on flights.Saint John area * Cask and Kettle on Nov. 17, at 112 Prince William St., between 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m., Saint John. * Churchill's Pub on Nov. 20, at 8 Grannan St., between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., Saint John. * Picaroons on Nov. 21, at 30 Canterbury St., between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Saint John. * Thandi's Restaurant on Nov. 21 between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. 33 Canterbury St., Saint John * Vito's Restaurant on Nov. 16, 111 Hampton Rd., Rothesay, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. * Cora Breakfast and Lunch on Nov. 16 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., 39 King St., Saint John * Goodlife Fitness McAllister Place on Nov. 16 between noon and 1 p.m. and on Nov. 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., 519 Westmorland Rd., , Saint John. * NBCC Grandview campus on Nov. 16, 17, and 18 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., 950 Grandview Ave., Saint John. * Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Nov. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., 47 Clark Rd., Rothesay * Big Tide Brewing Company at 47 Princess St. on Nov. 16, between 12:30 to 2 p.m., Saint John. * Java Moose at 84 Prince William St. Nov. 16, between 2 to 2:30 p.m., Saint John.Flights into Saint John:Public Health identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious onNov. 17 and Nov. 18while on the following flights: * Air Canada Flight 8421 on Nov. 17 and 18 from Kelowna to Vancouver, arrived at 8 p.m. * Air Canada Flight 314 on Nov. 17 and 18 from Vancouver to Montreal, arrived at 07:11 a.m. * Air Canada Flight 8792 on Nov. 17 and 18, from Montreal to Saint John arrived at 9:22 p.m.Moncton * RD Maclean Co. Ltd. on Nov. 16, 17 and 18 at 200 St. George St., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. * GoodLife Fitness on Nov. 21 at 555 Dieppe Blvd, Dieppe, between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. * Keg Steakhouse and Bar at 576 Main St. on Nov. 17, between 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.Flights into Moncton: * Air Canada Flight 178 on Nov. 19 from Edmonton to Toronto, arrived at 5:58 a.m. * Air Canada Flight 404 on Nov. 19 from Toronto to Montreal, arrived at 10:16 a.m. * Air Canada Flight 8902 on Nov. 19 from Montreal to Moncton, arrived at 4:17 p.m.Fredericton area * The Snooty Fox on Nov. 18 and 19, 66 Regent St., between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. * GoodLife Fitness Fredericton on Nov. 18 at 1174 Prospect St. between 10:20 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. Nov. 19 between 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. * The YMCA of Fredericton on Nov. 17 at 570 York St. throughout the evening. What to do if you have a symptomPeople concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: * A fever above 38 C. * A new cough or worsening chronic cough. * Sore throat. * Runny nose. * Headache. * New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. * Difficulty breathing.In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.People with one of those symptoms should: * Stay at home. * Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. * Describe symptoms and travel history. * Follow instructions.
The Montello Family decorates for the upcoming holiday season by creating a parody to Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulators". Enjoy!
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Australia's economy grew by 3.3% in the third quarter, rebounding from its first recession in nearly three decades as it recovered from pandemic-related shocks, according to figures released Wednesday.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters the country still has a lot of ground to make up from the coronavirus downturn.“Australia’s recession may be over, but Australia’s economic recovery is not,” he said.Despite the latest quarterly rise, the economy contracted at a 3.8% annual pace. That's after GDP fell by 0.3% in the first quarter and then by a record 7% in the second quarter.“But the Australian economy has demonstrated its remarkable resilience and Australia is as well positioned as any other nation on Earth," Frydenberg said. “Today’s national accounts represent a major step forward in Australia’s economic recovery.”Before this year, Australia had managed to avoid a recession for 28 years. The economy grew even during the global financial crisis thanks to strong demand for Australia's mineral exports and a robust domestic sector.The better-than-expected figures were encouraging, economists said.“The rebound in Q3 GDP reversed around 40% of the decline during the first half of the year and we expect output to return to pre-virus levels by mid-2021," Ben Udy of Capital Economics said in a commentary.Now on top of the pandemic, Australia is enduring a spate of rocky relations with China, its biggest trading partner.Frydenberg said the situation with China is “very serious” but his government is focusing on striking deals with other countries in Asia and beyond.“We have great produce, and we have great services, and we have great resource sectors, and I’m very optimistic about the opportunities for our exporters around the world," he said.Australia's relationship with China worsened this week after a Chinese official tweeted a fake image of a grinning Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to a child’s throat.Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the image “repugnant” and demanded an apology from the Chinese government. But China has not backed down.The post took aim at alleged abuses by elite Australian soldiers during the conflict in Afghanistan.Tensions have been growing this year since the Australian government called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. China has imposed tariffs and other restrictions on a number of Australian exports.Nick Perry, The Associated Press
Dysart et al council has signed off on a memorandum of understanding that will allow the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA) to operate on the local trail this winter season, providing the organization comes to a separate agreement with the principal landowners along the site. In what turned out to be a hearty debate amongst council members, a recorded vote saw a majority of the municipality’s elected officials approve the HCSA’s request to amend an existing agreement that will, essentially, transfer a portion of the off-season liability from the snowmobile club to the town should an accident occur. Ward 4 Coun. John Smith was the sole vote against the request. He pointed to issues that Dysart’s legal counsel and insurance provider had with the wording of the new agreement as the main reason he voted to turn the application down. “I’m not trying to prohibit snowmobiling, but as our solicitor has pointed out, and as our insurance company has pointed out, these proposed changes put forth by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, (and presented by local associations), are transferring risk from snowmobiling clubs to municipalities. That is liability from snowmobilers onto taxpayers,” Coun. Smith said. He continued, “For us to proceed with this when our solicitor has written us a letter, and our insurance company have written a letter expressing their concerns over the agreement, and for us to adopt our own casual interpretation of those risks … It’s a concern, for me, that we would appear to dismiss these risks so casually.” Earlier in the meeting, Jeff Iles, Dysart’s director of planning and land information, informed council that the town’s lawyer said it was “not inherently a negative thing” that the snowmobile association was looking to limit its responsibility in the event an injury or damages occur during the late spring, summer and early months of fall, when there’s no snow on the ground. Mayor Andrea Roberts said she understands completely why the snowmobile club would want to initiate such a change. “Why would the snowmobile club want to be responsible if somebody is trespassing on property, or a tree falls, or somebody is hiking on (the trail). I see why they’re asking for this change,” Mayor Roberts said. Coun. Smith did not concur with the mayor’s opinion, pointing to other municipalities and organizations, such as the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, and the Grand River Conservation Authority, who have refused to sign off on their own snowmobile club’s requests. “I remain supportive of snowmobiling in general, but to take these risks on behalf of our taxpayers in the face of professional advice to the contrary… We’re being too casual about this. We need to better understand the potential consequences of putting in place an agreement like this prior to passing the motion that is before us.” While council voted in favour of the new agreement, they did include a clause that staff will continue to consult with legal representation and their insurance company on this file moving forward. It was suggested, by Ward 2 Coun. Larry Clarke, that the municipality simply up their liability coverage with their insurer to cover any potential lawsuit. “It may cost us a few extra dollars, but snowmobile associations bring huge amounts of business to this community, which is so important for our economic health,” Coun. Clarke stated. Although Dysart council signed off on the agreement, the HCSA will still need to negotiate an agreement with Fleming College before its members can use the trail. Should council, at a future date, decide it wants to go back on this agreement, it will need to provide 60 days written notice to both the HCSA and Fleming College.Mike Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo
A 31-year-old man is facing several charges after police were alerted to an improvised explosive downtown.Officers were flagged by three men on 11th Avenue and Rose Street around 3:44 p.m. CST on Saturday, according to a news release from police.The men told police they found a suspicious package in front of a downtown business, although the release didn't indicate where the business is located.Officers were given a bag containing four containers filled with fluid and what appeared to be a wick tied to each.Police then searched the area but didn't find any other suspicious items. However, security personnel at the business helped identify the suspect using surveillance video, which showed him carrying a bag that matched the one left outside of the business.In the video, police say it appears the suspect left the bag when he saw a police car in the area on an unrelated matter.Further investigation found the fluid in the containers was combustible/explosive.The suspect, Lyndon Adrian Chamberlin, was then found and arrested without incident.Chamberlin is facing numerous charges, including making or possessing an explosive substance, unlawful possession of explosives and possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace.
Josh Dueck knows the role of chef de mission for Canada's Paralympic team during these unparalleled times comes with huge and unique challenges.It's a big reason why the three-time Paralympic medallist wanted the job.The 39-year-old skier, who was the first person in history to perform a back flip on a sit-ski, was named Canada's chef de mission for the 2022 Beijing Paralympics on Wednesday, "There's a part of me that likes to get gritty and that wanted the challenge and wanted to be there to insulate and support the athletes the best that I can and I know it's going to be a bit of a turbulent ride," Dueck told The Canadian Press from his Vernon, B.C., home.The chef de mission, or "head of mission", acts as an ambassador for the entire team leading into and during the Games.Dueck admitted there was a brief moment of fear when he got the call, "Like oh, what have I done? "But the last couple of days, I've been like 'I know exactly what I've done, I signed up for a role that I'm meant to be in right now. It's already given me so much drive and renewed sense of purpose."Dueck, who broke his back in 2004 after overshooting a demonstration jump, captured silver in slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics, and then gold in combined and silver in downhill four years later in Sochi. He also won gold and silver at the 2014 Winter X Games, and appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" after the video of his historic back flip hit half a million views. COVID-19 has posed huge challenges for Canada's athletes training for both this summer's Paralympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. But athletes, Dueck pointed out, are built to face adversity. They do so countless times throughout their careers.Dueck likes to find inspiration in Terry Fox, "one of the greatest Canadian heroes of all time." He reads Ann Donegan Johnson's book on Fox called "The Value of Facing a Challenge" to his two kids."Our character is forged by the fires that we endure," he said. "What (Fox's) story really showcases so well is that these challenges forced stress and stress allows for growth, and sometimes in ways that we can't predict, and that we don't want. Like, I don't think anybody wants a pandemic," Dueck said. Canada was instrumental in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics being postponed a year due to COVID-19. Canada announced that neither team would compete if the Games were held this past summer. The International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee announced soon after that both Games would be pushed back a year.In the weeks that followed the cancellation, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees' message of togetherness amid the global pandemic was: We are all Team Canada. "(Sport) is a great tool to create hope for all Canadians," Dueck said. "And while I'm biased, I for sure believe that sport does create hope for humanity as a whole."Dueck was inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2019 and in his induction speech talked about how sport was a dress rehearsal for life, preparing him for "how challenging life can be."Since retiring in 2014, Dueck lost both parents and a sister. His mom died in the five-day window between what would have been her 50th wedding anniversary and the one-year anniversary of the death of Dueck's sister."That complete heartbreak. She was absolutely devastated," Dueck said."But my mother-in-law is so awesome, she said 'Oh my god Josh, do you know how proud your parents would be for this (chef de mission position)?'"That's where my excitement comes from, my parents saw how important sport was for me. And now I get to live it again. And I know this is not about me, but it's going to be a great thing. I'm pretty excited to dive into this wholeheartedly."The Beijing Paralympics are March 4-13, 2022. Catriona Le May Doan was recently named Canada's chef de mission for the Beijing Olympics.Stephanie Dixon, a 19-time Paralympic medallist in swimming, is Canada's chef de mission for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020. Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
Nearly every segment of society in British Columbia is affected by food insecurity — including the province's youngest residents. One program at the Surrey Food Bank is trying to provide support for those infants and their parents. The program, called Tiny Bundles, is a lifeline for one single mom, Lindsay, whose last name CBC News has agreed to withhold. Lindsay has two children, one who is 3½ and one who is six months old."Unfortunately, I'm only on welfare so I have to go to the food bank to make sure both my young children have food every day and healthy stuff as well," she said. Every week, in addition to getting a full hamper of food for herself and her son, Lindsay gets specific items for her baby. "We get the formula. Every week we get one, and it lasts a week. So that's money I don't have to spend," she said, adding formula is "really expensive.""Now that she's six months, they're giving the jar food and the cereal, so she's set to go."Advocates across the country say children are increasingly at risk of food insecurity as parents who were already living paycheque-to-paycheque lost jobs, fell ill or had to self-isolate because of COVID-19. Many support services reported an increase in families accessing their services this year. Feezah Jaffer, the executive director of the Surrey Food Bank, says the Tiny Bundles program is unique as it is specifically tailored to pregnant moms and infant children. "We provide milk and eggs for pregnant and nursing moms, formula, diapers, baby items, food, wipes, things like that," said Jaffer.Jaffer says the program has run smoothly thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers from the Tzu Chi Buddhist Society, who have worked with the program for 14 years. "They're so helpful. They're so accommodating," she said. "They go above and beyond. They have been instrumental in the success of the Tiny Bundles program."For Lindsay, the program has proven to be a lifeline during a difficult time. "[Without it] I would be struggling — very, very much so," she said.On Dec. 4, join us virtually for special broadcasts and digital meet-and-greets with your favourite CBC British Columbia hosts, and donate to Food Banks B.C. from the comfort of your own home. For more, visit cbc.ca/openhouse
The public hearing for the proposed Grassy Mountain mine continued hearing witnesses’ evidence and cross-examination during the week of Nov. 3. The scheduled topic items included geology, damming safety, accidents and malfunctions, industrial waste and waste management, and effects on the environment like climate change. Dam right Much of the discussion focused on the mine’s four surge and four sedimentation ponds. Surge ponds capture water from precipitation that passes under the waste rock deposits that may be tainted with selenium. Sedimentation ponds collect water for treatment and removal of suspended solids, aided by coagulating agents called flocculants and letting particles naturally settle. Explaining the nature of the ponds, said Benga’s vice-president of external relations, Gary Houston, was important because many opponents of the mine point to the danger posed by tailings ponds. Tailings ponds typically hold toxic materials left over from industrial processes involving water. Benga would not be using tailings ponds because the mine would mechanically dewater during its processes. Most of the ponds point toward Blairmore Creek, though two sediment ponds are near Gold Creek. The pond locations are needed to catch water flow from the mine, thus minimizing the risk of erosion and landslide. Proposed dam designs for each pond have followed guidelines set by the Canadian Dam Association as well as Alberta Dam and Canal Safety Directive. After construction, the Alberta Energy Regulator would provide regular monitoring. Opponents of the proposed mine project, however, were concerned Benga had not studied the consequences of a pond failing nor completed an emergency response plan. Though the mining company said creating these plans was subject to the project’s approval, critics responded that understanding Benga’s disaster processes was integral to fully analyzing risks associated with the project. “How can this panel make an informed decision about the risk of your project having impacts on the environment in the context of these sedimentation and surge ponds if, in fact, you haven’t done that study yet and you haven’t presented that evidence at this hearing?” asked Mike Sawyer, legal counsel for the Timberwolf Wilderness Society. “How can we make that decision? Are we just supposed to trust you?” Mr. Sawyer also said the proposal lacked any assessment of how dam failure would affect populations of the westslope cutthroat trout, which contravened expectations set out by the Species at Risk Act. Particularly important information missing was data on how the fish would react to the flocculants and sedimentation in the ponds next to Gold Creek should a leak occur. Issues with dam failure, responded Mr. Houston, were easy to exaggerate since even opening a floodgate would be classified as dam failure. Any effect on the trout from a pond bursting, he continued, would be reversible and only an issue in the short term and would be accounted for in Benga’s planning. “There is a process in place for dealing with these risks and we’re going to abide by that process,” Mr. Houston said. Even with Benga’s assurances that the dam design would mitigate flood risk, expert witnesses asked to participate by the Government of Canada said the dam designs were based on an inaccurate model of how much the average annual precipitation would increase over time. Dr. Ann-Lise Norman, an atmospheric physicist from the University of Calgary, said the issue was the scale used in collecting precipitation data. Benga’s calculations relied on too large an area as scale: a 90-kilometre area was used when industry standard is 10 kilometres. Data collection from Sparwood and Pincher Creek, Dr. Norman continued, was at locations too low in elevation to accurately predict what amount of precipitation should be expected at the Grassy Mountain site. “Higher spatial resolution is critical,” she said. “It produces more accurate results, and I think Benga’s maximum precipitation for Grassy Mountain was based on too low an elevation.” Nothing earth-shaking On top of concerns the mine would be susceptible to storms and flooding, local residents and environmental groups said approving the project would increase the risk of grass and forest fires. The main fear expressed was that distributed layers of coal dust on vegetation in the area would create a volatile situation should a wildfire start. Additionally, critics said Benga had not adequately addressed the risks associated with coal seam fires or coal dust explosions in its environmental assessment. Coal dust, however, was not viewed by Benga as a major issue as minimal amounts of coal would be stored at the site and coal transportation would all be done in covered chutes. “The biggest source of dust will be the road dust,” Mr. Houston said. The company would also have its own fire-protective equipment and trained staff on-site. Worries daily blasting at the mine would contribute to seismic activity in the area were viewed as negligible. Dr. John Cassidy, an expert on seismic hazards from the University of Victoria, noted only 11 earthquakes had been registered within 50 kilometres of the mine site in the last 40 years. The largest quake in that time was measured at a magnitude of 3.2 on the Richter scale. 719 mining blasts had been registered in that same time frame, supporting Dr. Cassidy’s experience that industrial blasting had never been seen to affect seismic activity in an area. The potential for blasting to cause landslides, however, was acknowledged as a risk inherent in the Grassy Mountain area. Benga had put forward in its assessment mitigation measures like annual ground condition inspections — increased after major precipitation — and a ground-monitoring program. Natural Resources Canada had reviewed the measures and found them satisfactory. Although the effect of blasting on Turtle Mountain was not considered significant, Mr. Houston said no specific discussion with the Alberta Geological Survey had occurred in regard to monitoring the mountain. Benga was also unsure if the AGS was monitoring Turtle Mountain for seismic activity. Given the lack of experience Benga as a company had in mining operations, the MD of Ranchland, said lawyer Michael Niven, did not have confidence in the company’s procedures and capacity to respond to emergencies. The gap was one Benga was willing to bridge, said Mr. Houston. “We could talk about the drilling and blasting procedures and the safety measures put in place, the scientific methods for monitoring the blasts,” he said. “Those are all things we’re prepared to discuss if that’s a topic that the MD would like us to come and talk to them about.” To this point, Benga has not had any discussions with the MD of Ranchland concerning the project.Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze