An $800 Dyson air purifier we tested doesn’t clean your air as well as some less-expensive products. Here’s what we found.
An $800 Dyson air purifier we tested doesn’t clean your air as well as some less-expensive products. Here’s what we found.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he expects a provincial lab will be able to test for samples of concerning COVID-19 variants by next month. He says the Roy Romanow Provincial Lab in Regina is in the process of becoming certified so it can carry out such tests on strains that appear to be able to spread more easily. Currently, samples have to been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, which means results can take two weeks. Moe says testing variants in Saskatchewan will mean more samples can be analyzed more quickly. Health officials say two more cases of the mutation first identified in the United Kingdom were found in two residents in the Regina area. The Ministry of Health says they were tested at the end of January and health officials believe there is no link to travel. The province also reported its first case of the strain initially found in South Africa in a resident who was tested last month and lives in a region that includes Prince Albert. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Trican Well Service Ltd. says an ongoing slump in Canadian oilfield activity linked to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lower revenue in the fourth quarter. The Calgary-based well completion company says consolidated revenue from continuing operations fell to $103 million from $163 million in the year-earlier period. It is reporting a net loss of $25 million or 10 cents per share for the last three months of 2020, including a $22.3-million impairment charge on non-financial assets. That compares with a net loss of $20.9 million or seven cents in the same period of 2019. Trican says it had adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization of $14.5 million, little changed from $14.6 million a year earlier, but beating analyst expectations for $9.7 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Its adjusted earnings include $4.9 million from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy, bringing the total for the year to $13.8 million. Trican says stronger demand allowed it to activate a sixth crew offering hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" well completions in early January. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TCW) The Canadian Press
Two geriatricians answer viewer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and seniors including improving access to doses and the safety of the vaccines.
SURREY, B.C. — Teachers marched today outside an elementary school in Surrey, B.C., where a confirmed case of a COVID-19 variant has been reported to demand more safety measures. Members of the Surrey Teachers Association dressed in red and also marched with their colleagues outside Woodward Hill Elementary in a physically distanced protest before classes began. Matt Westphal, the president of the Surrey Teachers Association, says the biggest concern is that students in elementary schools are not required to wear masks inside their classrooms. Earlier this month, the province changed safety protocols to require students in middle and secondary school, along with staff working in kindergarten through Grade 12, to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas of their schools, including while in their learning groups. Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said Monday there are no plans to make any changes to provincial guidelines on masks in schools. Seven schools in the Fraser Health region reported cases involving a COVID-19 variant of concern, with all of them linked to the strain first detected in the United Kingdom. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
BUCHAREST, Romania — Olivier Giroud’s bicycle-kick goal awarded after video review gave Chelsea a 1-0 win against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. It took nearly three minutes for Giroud and his teammates to be able to celebrate the important 68th-minute away goal that was initially disallowed for offside. Giroud was clearly in front of the defenders when he pulled off his acrobatic shot, but VAR determined that the ball came from Atlético defender Mario Hermoso, thus annulling the offside. Atlético was the home team but the match was played in Bucharest, Romania, because of travel restrictions preventing visitors from Britain entering Spain. The second leg will be on March 17 in London. In the other round-of-16 match on Tuesday, Bayern Munich defeated Lazio 4-1 in Italy. It was the second consecutive loss for Atlético after a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. It was also the eighth straight game in which the Spanish club has conceded a goal, extending its worst run without a clean sheet since coach Diego Simeone arrived in late 2011. Chelsea is yet to lose in its eight matches since coach Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at the helm. It had been a lacklustre match until Giroud’s goal, with neither team managing to create many significant scoring opportunities and with the goalkeepers not having to work too hard. Chelsea controlled possession and looked a bit more dangerous, but both sides appeared to be satisfied with the scoreless draw and didn’t take too many risks. Hermoso was trying to clear the ball from the area and ended kicking it backward in a ball dispute with Mason Mount. Giroud reached up high with his left foot send the ball toward the corner of Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Mount and Jorginho were shown yellow cards and will miss the second leg because of accumulation of cards. Simeone had to improvise with midfielder Marcos Llorente as a right back against Chelsea because of several absences on defence, including Kieran Trippier following an English betting investigation. The teams had played in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2017-18 season, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in Spain before a 1-1 draw in London. Atlético eliminated Chelsea in the semifinals in 2014. It was in Bucharest that Simeone won his first title with Atlético, the 2012 Europa League. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina's top elections administrator on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to move all of this year's municipal elections to 2022 and bump back next year's primaries from March to May due to delayed Census data. Census numbers play a crucial role in how legislative districts are redrawn every decade. But even though the data was supposed to be delivered by next month, the federal government does not expect to have it ready to be released until September because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. North Carolina is now either the first state in the nation or among the first to put forward a plan that pushes local government contests to 2022. Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, cited the Census setbacks as the driving force behind her recommendation to postpone the elections. She noted that 62 of the more than 500 municipalities across the state need the Census data because candidates submit paperwork or voters cast ballots based on their specific ward or district. While it's possible for many of the remaining local governments that do not require districts or wards to go forward without the Census data, Bell called on lawmakers to follow her advice in order to address redistricting and avoid confusing voters. “It is very difficult for voters to understand why one municipality would be having an election, while another is not, especially when they're accustomed to those elections being held at the same time,” Bell said. She noted it's unlikely redistricting would be completed in time for the December filing deadline ahead of the March 2022 primary. Every 10 years, states are tasked with creating new maps for state legislative and congressional races. Because of the delayed Census, Bell is asking leaders to endorse her 2022 recommendations for a May 3 primary, July 12 runoff primary and Nov. 8 general election. “We would propose that the municipal elections coincide with those election dates." The 2022 primaries include bids for U.S. Senate and House, judicial races and state legislative seats. Wendy Underhill, director of elections and redistricting with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said she was not aware of any other places where Census delays could cause municipal elections to be delayed. Underhill noted there's a bill in Connecticut that would move municipal elections to November, but that is likely more of a reflection of a national trend of states adjusting their calendars for local races to boost voter turnout than a response to the delayed Census. Michael Li, a senior counsel at the Brennan Center who focuses on redistricting, noted that a bill was filed in Texas earlier this month that would give the governor, lieutenant governor and state House speaker the ability to move the state's 2022 primary if a redistricting plan is not in effect by Sept. 1. He believes the Census lag could become a catalyst for states like North Carolina to transition local elections to even-numbered years. In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled General Assembly has the ultimate decision on when to hold the elections, and the state elections board is tasked with carrying out the plan. Some state elections officials are concerned with the proposed overhaul to the voting timetable, particularly in places where updated Census data is not needed to carry out local contests. “It causes me some heartburn to think about making a sweeping change that's going to affect the election schedule proposal," said Stacy Eggers, a Republican member on the state board of elections. Scott Mooneyham, a spokesman for the North Carolina League of Municipalities, said Bell's plan could actually lead to more confusion among longtime voters whose communities are unaffected by the Census but will experience later elections. “I’m not suggesting the Board of Elections can do magic and fix this problem, but I’m not at all convinced that having a one-size-fits-all approach to this is the best approach,” Mooneyham said. Damon Circosta, the Democratic chairman of the board, said he shares concerns about a lack of timely voting but added, “There's really no good solution, and I trust the General Assembly will do what they need to do to give us the direction we need.” ___ Follow Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BryanRAnderson. ___ Anderson is a corps members for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Bryan Anderson, The Associated Press
Sexual health for pre-teens guru Saleema Noon is evolving her school-based program for online COVID-19 life. Noon and her team of sexual health educators have worked with a group of pre-teen “influencers” to develop a so-called master class for kids to set them up for a happy, healthy life. The pre-teens identified what topics to address and how to address them, making sure the messaging is relevant for young people. All Noon’s programs are prevention-based, aiming to support kids with tools before a crisis and angst hits. And there are a lot of tools pre-teens need to successfully get through life. “The stakes are just so much higher than when we were kids,” Noon told Black Press. “The pressure is just so huge, even in Grade 5. When my stepdaughters were younger – they’re in their 20s now – we just told them they couldn’t have a cell phone until high school. And that was okay then, but now Grade 5 is like the new Grade 7.” The classic fear of missing out (or FOMO), is intensified with cell phones. Noon has heard from some parents that kids want to sleep with their phones because they’re afraid they’ll miss out on a group text, or someone will say something mean about them and they won’t be able to defend themselves right away. The idea with the master class is to help parents teach good habits early so when kids are ready for social media they can use it in a way that’s fun and healthy. The workshop, called the Growing Up Game Plan, covers six areas: gender and gender stereotypes, how to honour and express emotions, healthy relationships, being assertive, puberty and body image, and internet safety. When offered in schools, typically parent advisory committees fund the workshops. Online they are fee-based, but in future iterations Noon plans to use her foundation to sponsor families financially. The current cohort is open for registration until Feb. 25; a second cohort will launch in the summer. Registration for the online workshop is here: https://saleemanoon.com/growing-up-game-plan/ Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
TORONTO — A judge accused of lying to a disciplinary committee said on Tuesday that he did indeed give up all involvement with a Black federation he helped found out of fear he would be suspended from the bench.Testifying at a hearing into his alleged misconduct, Ontario court Judge Donald McLeod said he resigned from his roles on the Federation of Black Canadians in mid-2018.At the time, the disciplinary committee was weighing in on a complaint about McLeod's efforts as a member of the federation's steering committee and its lobbying of the federal government. The complaint turned on whether he was compromising his position as a judge by being a part of an activist group.McLeod, who has won widespread accolades for his work on Black issues, said he was surprised to learn he was under threat of judicial sanction and worried what would happen if that became public."It left me in an unenviable position," McLeod said. "Now they were going to suspend me. I’m the only Black judge on the Ontario court of justice. It would cause harm to my reputation.”McLeod had founded the federation in 2016. It describes itself as a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization to advance the social, economic, political and cultural interests of Canadians of African descent. The activist organization lobbied government on issues they considered key, including on behalf of Somali child refugee, Abdoulkader Abdi.Faced with suspension pending a ruling on the complaint against him, McLeod said he felt he had no choice other than to inform the Ontario Judicial Council in 2018 that he was no longer active with the federation.“I had to just go,” he said. “Then I was gone and all communication (with the federation) would have ceased.”A panel of the Ontario Judicial Council is looking at whether McLeod committed perjury when he told the first panel he was no longer active with the group."Justice McLeod resumed a leadership role in the FBC," according to the allegation against him.For example, in December 2018, evidence before the hearing was that McLeod was involved in an email chain with members of the federation. He explained they had reached out to him about proposed changes the organization wanted to make.McLeod said he offered information that only he had as a former member of the steering committee."I’m probably the only one who has the experience of the organization from the very beginning," McLeod said. “They would need my historical knowledge in order to see if this could actually be done."After the initial complaint was dismissed in Dec. 20, 2018, McLeod said he resumed limited, non-lobbying activities with the federation. He said the ruling had clarified what judges could and could not do, and he acted within those limits.“What the ruling does is it now gives us the four corners that we can work within,” he said.He said he did chair meetings but did not vote, except once accidentally on a routine motion, and absolutely refrained from any advocacy and had no role in any fundraising.. A newspaper broke the story of his new troubles and suspension with pay in September 2019 on a day he was achieving a prestigious award from United Nations in New York.“This has been a very tough run.” he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at St. Eugene Catholic Elementary School in east Hamilton. In a letter to families on Tuesday, the school’s principal said the outbreak was declared “after an epidemiological link was identified between today’s case and an earlier case at the school.” The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has reported three confirmed cases of the virus — a staff member on Feb. 23, a “third-party employee” on Feb. 22 and a student on Feb. 15 — at the school. “The outbreak is related to the group currently in quarantine,” the letter reads. The board says students and staff at St. Eugene should continue to attend school “unless directed otherwise” by public health. This is the fourth outbreak in a Hamilton school — third in the Catholic board — to be declared in the last week. An outbreak was declared on Feb. 17 at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Elementary School on the west Mountain, which currently has nine positive cases — five students and four staff. The west Mountain school is closed to in-person learning until March 1 as a result of the outbreak. COVID-19 testing was offered to all staff and students at St. Teresa of Avila on Feb. 20. The HWCDSB said 60 tests were conducted — 23 PCR tests among those self-isolating and 37 rapid tests for other staff and students. The board said on Monday all 37 rapid tests came back negative, and that it is still waiting on the PCR test results. Three staff cases have been reported at St. Ann Catholic Elementary School in central Hamilton, which has been in outbreak since Feb. 18. An outbreak was also declared Feb. 17 at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s A.M. Cunningham Elementary School, located in central Hamilton, after two students tested positive for the virus. Schools in Hamilton reopened for in-person learning on Feb. 8 with enhanced health and safety measures in place after weeks of remote learning. Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Perhaps it will come as a surprise to few, but Nordic skiing is taking off in B.C. For many, it’s the perfect pandemic activity—(relatively) affordable, easily accessible for those living in the beautiful Thompson Okanagan region, and good for your overall health and well-being. And, oh yeah—it’s sort of COVID-proof. “A lot of people have gravitated to the sport because of [COVID-19],” said Ivor McMahen, president of the Sun Peaks Nordic Club. “COVID restrictions have shut down a lot of other sports, but because of the nature of cross country skiing, being outside and not requiring close proximity to other people, we’re able to continue almost normally.” Across B.C., the popularity of the sport has grown by around 50 per cent, according to McMahen and a recent interview Sun Peaks Independent News had with a representative from Tourism Kamloops. McMahen said he has definitely noticed the uptick in usage of Sun Peaks’ acclaimed trail system, and that membership levels in the club, which have increased to 111 this year from 92 the year previous, don’t fully capture the picture. “I think the actual popularity and interest in the sport is up much more than that,” he said. Unlike other local clubs—such as the Overlander Nordic Club and the Stake Lake trail system—the Sun Peaks Nordic Club does not manage the local trail system, which is operated by Sun Peaks Resort LLP. Adding to the usage of local Sun Peaks trails is the fact that anyone with a downhill pass can now utilize them. “Overall, I think it’s a really great thing that the resort is doing that,” said McMahen of the deal, which it has been offered for the past couple years. “It really encourages people to get out without having to buy an extra pass, but it makes it harder to tell how many people are getting out, and doing Nordic as opposed to alpine.” The club plays a pivotal role in supporting Sun Peaks’ cross country skiing community and fostering the next generation of skiers through events and programs. While it’s had to shut down its popular group skis sessions, the club has had success promoting its popular junior development program. It provides instruction for kids and youth from four to 16-years old. The program is informally known as the “Jackrabbits” program. It has a total of 32 kids involved this year. And for the first time in club history, it’s had to put a cap on its numbers. “It was named after Jackrabbit Johannsen, who was a legendary fellow in eastern Canada who skied everyday until he was over 100 years old.” McMahen said the idea of the program is to get kids turned onto the sport in an organic way and develop all-around athletes. “The main philosophy, especially in the really young ages at this, is not to aim to produce elite skiers,” he said. “It’s aim is to produce healthy, well balanced, physically capable kids. The word that they refer to as physical literacy, so it’s balance, agility, the ability to jump, run and just self-propel yourself.” McMahen added the club hopes to get a masters program up and running next year, where more experienced (and mature) skiers can get some tips on how to improve their performance. “There’s a few tricks to the sport, it’s not as simple as it looks,” he said with a laugh. The Thompson Okanagan provides a number of options for people to enjoy cross country skiing if you’re looking to try something new. – The Stake Lake Trails, located south of Kamloops and operated by the Overlander Ski Club, boasts a 60-km trail system. – Harper Mountain offers a three kilometre groomed trail system that meanders through a forested area, and is great for both traditional cross country skiing and skate skiing. -The Telemark Nordic Club, located in West Kelowna, offers 60 kilometres of trails. – The Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club offers 75-km of trails. – Sovereign Lake, located in SilverStar Resort, is also open. It offers 105 kilometres of daily groomed trails and is the largest network of cross-country ski trails in Canada. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
A new study of Kamloops restaurant owners provided a glimpse at the new (and challenging) business climate they have been forced to navigate due to COVID-19. The report found that local restaurants are having to spend more money on everything from personal protective equipment to cleaning products and plastic barriers, while simultaneously making less money. On top of that, their indoor seating capacities have been dramatically cut. Around 30 businesses took part in the survey. Overall they reported their revenues were down nearly 65 per cent, on average, from March to May 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. The study was spearheaded by Thompson Rivers University (TRU) business student Josh Parker. Having worked for years in the restaurant industry in Calgary prior to university, Parker decided to carry out the research project when his co-op fell through. “I just wanted to do anything that I could [for the industry], to work with my school and the chamber in any way to see if we can help them out,” he explained. Parker worked on the report with his faculty advisor, Terry Lake, and Jamie Noakes, his co-op advisor. The team also partnered with The Chamber of Commerce and Mitacs BSI (Business Strategy Internship). The study found considerable differences between how independent business and chains addressed layoffs. On average, chain restaurants laid off more than 70 per cent of their staff during a 2.5 month period between March and May. In comparison, local restaurants laid off just under 50 per cent of their staff over this period. Parker added smaller restaurants were better placed to pivot to takeout when the pandemic hit. “They could figure out what they wanted to do, pivot operations and utilize their staff quicker,” said Parker. Chain restaurants were, however, able to get back to full employment rates quicker. “They’re able to kind of use their corporate entity to get all the requirements they needed to open up safely,” he said. Overall, employees at independent restaurants rated their employer’s response to the crisis higher, giving it a 4.1 out of 5, compared to 3.5 out of 5 for chain restaurants. The team also surveyed 160 customers who had ordered take-out in recent months. The survey found that the most common negative experience was the cost of take-out, with many expecting the cost to be lower given that they weren’t dining inside an establishment. At the same time, an overwhelming majority of customers said they would support local restaurants if prices had to be increased by up to 15 per cent to cover costs related to COVID-19 safety protocols. “It was kind of something we put out there that we noticed people were kind of contradicting themselves about,” said Parker. He added that it puts restaurants in a difficult position, as a meal costs roughly the same to make, whether it’s consumed in a restaurant or at home. Going forward, Parker said the public should accept that restaurants will have to marginally increase prices to maintain profitability in this difficult period. The survey also found some interesting findings on tipping culture, with just over half of participants stating they would tip both the delivery driver and the restaurant when they make an order. The survey stated the pandemic can create an added challenge for business owners to retain their employees, as servers are no longer receiving their normal tips, which effectively subsidize their salaries. As part of the survey, Parker asked customers whether they would support a no tipping policy—or more specifically, a scenario where tips were included in the final price of an order. About 32 per cent of participants said they would support this, with 44 per cent saying no and 24 per cent unsure. Another issue that restaurants brought up with Parker was the issue of online ordering services, such as SkipThe Dishes and DoorDash. Such organizations traditionally ask small business owners to hand over 20 to 30 per cent of total sales on top of partner fees. In December, the province temporarily capped the fees delivery companies can charge restaurants at 15 per cent. The rule will be in place until three months after B.C.’s state of emergency order is lifted. Skip the Dishes soon responded with a 99-cent “B.C. fee.” Parker said he found it curious to watch expensive 2021 Super Bowl ads for such companies during a time when so many small restaurants are struggling. “Without restaurants no one would need a delivery service, so I think they need to kind of work with local restaurants a little more closely,” he said. The report concluded with thoughts on how restaurants are faring overall, and calls for a more robust government response help it out. “We are in a completely unprecedented situation which has caused the government to take extraordinary measures,” it stated. “These measures have been put in place for the good of all Canadians, but they seem to impede certain businesses more, such as restaurants. “The government has forced closures and maintained 50 per cent capacity restrictions for over nine months, and local, small restaurants are in a fragile state…Many owners are unhappy with how the government has helped small businesses through the pandemic and rightfully so. There have been rent subsidies and other financial support to help these businesses, but it isn’t enough when their livelihoods are essentially put on hold.” Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
La Ville de Sutton mandatera une firme d’ingénierie en bâtiment pour faire une nouvelle étude sur l’état du centre culturel et communautaire John-Sleeth ainsi que sur les coûts pour le rénover et le mettre aux normes. La dernière étude, en date de 2019, n’est plus d’actualité avec les coûts en construction qui ont explosé dans la dernière année. Les rapports d’expertise réalisés en 2018 et 2019 sur le bâtiment ont été dévoilés vendredi dernier. Les experts consultés recommandaient de nombreux travaux, mais le coût de ceux-ci ne dépassait pas, à l’époque, 1,2 M$. Le rapport pour la mécanique du bâtiment proposait des rénovations se chiffrant, en 2019, à 232 650 $. La firme d’architecture parlait quant à elle de travaux estimés à 658 200 $. Et des travaux d’approximativement 224 200 $ étaient recommandés pour la structure. Devant cette estimation, des citoyens qui souhaitent la survie du bâtiment construit en 1886 se sont questionnés encore plus sur la nécessité d’étudier d’autres options que la rénovation. Le maire Michel Lafrance a réitéré d’entrée de jeu, en visioconférence, qu’aucune décision n’a été prise. La reconstruction fait partie des options, mais le conseil n’a toujours pas tranché. Il a constaté que le dossier soulève les passions. M. Lafrance l’a observé sur les réseaux sociaux, mais aussi dans sa boîte courriel où il a reçu plusieurs courriels en faveur, mais aussi en défaveur de la rénovation. Mise à jour Comme les choses peuvent avoir évolué depuis bientôt deux ans et que les coûts pour les matériaux de construction ont augmenté, les élus souhaitent avoir des données à jour. «Il y a eu une discussion lundi, en caucus, et la municipalité va accorder un mandat à une firme d’ingénierie en bâtiment pour mettre l’ensemble des études à jour, annonce le directeur général Pascal Smith en entrevue. On a plusieurs études en structure, en mécanique et en architecture. Donc, on va donner un mandat pour reprendre l’ensemble du travail et d’arriver, dans un seul document, avec tous les coûts pour la rénovation et la mise aux normes du bâtiment.» Le rapport actualisé devrait être livré en avril prochain. «Évidemment, ça va être disponible», ajoute le maire. Consultation publique Afin d’obtenir un mandat clair de la population sur l’avenir du centre John-Sleeth, la municipalité veut organiser une consultation publique. La façon dont sera tenue la consultation publique n’est pas déterminée encore, mentionne Me Smith. «On va essayer de faire ça, je dirais, à la fin du printemps, début été.» Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
EDMONTON — Alberta's top doctor is urging patience a day before seniors born in 1946 and earlier become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says there are 230,000 seniors in this age group, in addition to health-care workers and people in other priority groups still waiting for their shots. She says any eligible seniors who want to be immunized should be able to get their first dose by the end of March, but there may be hiccups along the way. The doses will be available by appointment at 58 Alberta Health Services sites, and Hinshaw says pharmacies and doctors' offices will be added later. Hinshaw also says it's not a done deal that the next phase of Alberta's staged reopening plan, which includes eased restrictions on retail, banquet halls and hotels, will begin on March 1. She says while hospitalizations are down, the test positivity rate and number of new people infected by each case are on the rise. The decision will depend on whether those increases are due to local issues that can be brought under control or if it's a more general spread across the province, she said. Hinshaw said it's possible that restrictions will be eased on the same day a decision is announced. "I recognize it's challenging for businesses who are looking for certainty around dates and timelines," she told a news conference Tuesday. "But we did need the additional time to be able to look at the full three-weeks of data following the first step to be able to understand what's happening with our numbers, where is spread happening and if we need to take longer or a more cautious approach going forward." Alberta reported 267 new COVID-19 infections in its Tuesday update, along with 11 additional deaths from the virus. Hinshaw said there were 6,300 tests done in the past day and that 4.4 per cent came back positive. There were 326 COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals, including 51 in intensive care. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, his second run at the Cabinet post. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same Department of Agriculture for former President Barack Obama's entire administration. He was confirmed Tuesday on a 92-7 vote. “We’re going to be a USDA that represents and serves all Americans,” Vilsack said after the vote. “I am optimistic about the future and believe our brightest days are ahead.” In his testimony, Vilsack, 70, heavily endorsed boosting climate-friendly agricultural industries such as the creation of biofuels, saying, “Agriculture is one of our first and best ways to get some wins" on climate change. He proposed “building a rural economy based on biomanufacturing” and “turning agricultural waste into a variety of products.” Vilsack also pledged to work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to “spur the industry” on biofuels. With systemic racial inequity now a nationwide talking point, Vilsack also envisioned creating an “equity task force” inside the department. Its job, he said, would be to identify what he called “intentional or unintentional barriers" that prevent or discourage farmers of colour from properly accessing federal assistance programs. Vilsack also heavily backed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps, or SNAP — as a key instrument in helping the country's most vulnerable families survive and recover from the pandemic era. His Trump-era predecessor, Sonny Perdue, had sought to purge hundreds of thousands of people from the SNAP-recipient lists. Vilsack received minimal pushback or criticism during confirmation hearings. One of the “no” votes came from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Sanders later said that Vilsack would “be fine” but he would have liked “somebody a little bit more vigorous in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture.” Vilsack's approval was hailed by the Food Research and Action Center, which focuses on food security and equity. The organization said Vilsack's department faces a looming challenge to “protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs to help address our nation’s hunger crisis that has been deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press
City staff are recommending $500,000 be allocated to repairs and debris removal along the south dike at Gilbert Road. Funding will come from the city’s drainage improvement reserve fund, staff said in a report. Councillors were unanimously in favour at this week's city council meeting. A king tide event on Jan. 13 caused damage to the rip-rap—rocks placed along the shoreline for protection—as well as the accumulation of a large number of logs and other wood debris. The repair work includes reinstatement of rip-rap along a 300 metre stretch as well as debris removal along a 750 metre stretch. Staff described the work as urgent in their report, and recommended it begin immediately. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Grimsby council unanimously threw its support behind the inclusion of a theatre at the new soon-to-be-built West Niagara Secondary School (WNSS). Though there is no financial commitment, council voted in favour following a presentation by Friends of the Arts in West Niagara who are embarking on a $2.6-million fundraising campaign for the theatre. Matt Miller, principal of Grimsby Secondary School, presented the fundraiser to council at the Feb. 16 committee of the whole meeting, explaining the District School Board of Niagara has already allocated $4.2 million of the required $6.8 million needed to build the theatre. Miller said when fundraising starts, there will be printed material to inform the community, as well as a website for donations and contributions will be tax deductible. He said hopes to start fundraising “within the next couple weeks.” According to Miller, the proposed 750-seat venue will be attached to the school but also have separate entrances as it will not be limited to school use, but also available for rent to the community. A per-hour rate will be charged and the rate ranges from $0 to $135, depending on purpose. In his presentation, he said the community will not be responsible for any other costs associated with use of the facility, other than rental fees. WNSS is set to open in Beamsville in 2022. It will accommodate students from the now-closed South Lincoln Secondary School and soon-to-be-closed Grimsby Secondary and Beamsville District Secondary. Miller will come on as principal of WNSS as it takes on the role of a "superschool." The fundraising campaign has received letters of support from multiple members of the community, such as Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan, Lincoln and Grimsby Rotary clubs, the Grimsby Chamber of Commerce and former principal of Grimsby Secondary School Jim Heywood, among many others. Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
MONTREAL — Police are still seeking a suspect in the slaying of a Montreal-area woman on Sunday who had told authorities days prior about being the victim of alleged death threats. Provincial police said there have been no arrests in the killing of Marly Edouard, 32, known in Haiti's music scene as a former manager, producer and radio host. A command post was set up near her home in the Montreal suburb of Laval on Monday; a police spokeswoman said Tuesday she had no new information to provide. Djimy Ducasse, who lives in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and co-owned a music agency with Edouard, said in an interview Tuesday the community to which Edouard was closely tied is taking her death hard. Edouard came to Canada in 2016 and, two years later, set up Symbiose509, a Laval-based promotion, marketing and events agency with Ducasse, which operated in Haiti. Ducasse said he met Edouard in 2013 when she was managing rap stars in Haiti and he was hosting a radio show. It was a friendship that would continue with the pair becoming business partners. “We became good friends, we spoke all the time, we spoke about business, we spoke about everything and nothing,” said Ducasse, who last spoke to her on Friday — the same day she reported alleged threats to local police. Ducasse said they spoke about some tasks she wanted him to do and some recent health problems she'd encountered, but she never mentioned anything about threats on her life. He said he had tried calling her Sunday but Edouard never responded, which he said was unlike her. On Monday, Ducasse was alerted to Montreal media reports that Edouard had been killed. Quebec provincial police have classified Edouard's death as a homicide and have said her body bore marks of violence when it was found Sunday in the parking lot of her condominium building. Meanwhile, Quebec’s police watchdog is investigating the Laval police's response to the alleged threats Edouard reported last Friday. The Bureau des enquetes independantes said Edouard had called 911 to ask for help from Laval police on Feb. 19. The call was placed about 12:40 p.m. to police; officers met with her and left, according to the watchdog agency. Less than 48 hours later, Edouard was found dead. Edouard was described by Ducasse as kind and driven. She had been involved in the music scene in Haiti at a very young age and had worked with many artists in the country. Some artists took to social media to pay their respects to her. “Marly isn’t someone that went unnoticed,” Ducasse said. “Everyone who was part of the rap scene in Haiti, it was nearly impossible to not have worked on at least one project with Marly Edouard. It’s why her death hits hard for a lot of people in Haiti." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Acadian documentary Belle-Île in Acadie by Moncton filmmaker Phil Comeau won its 100th award over the weekend at Vancouver's French-language film festival. Like the Acadian people it features, the film that premiered at Moncton's Festival International du Cinema Francophone en Acadie in 2019, has since travelled all over the world, said Comeau, who splits his time between Moncton and Montreal. Separated from Acadie for over 250 years, Comeau said it was “mind-blowing” how connected Acadians from all over the world felt connected to the place their families had been deported from generations earlier. Making the film, Comeau said he “learned Acadian culture is stronger than I imagined.” The film focuses on Acadians, in particular those from Belle-Île-en-Mer, an island of the coast of Brittany in France, who travelled to the Maritimes for the 2019 Congres Mondiale, hosted that year by Prince Edward Island and southeastern New Brunswick. Comeau said while he has attended all of the Acadian congresses, when he heard about the Belle-Île group, he saw the potential for a film. It was a moving experience, and a hopeful one, making the documentary, he said.. In one scene, the group received an apology from a woman who is a descendant of Loyalists who took over an Acadian farm in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia. In other scenes, Acadians, gathered en masse, are seen celebrating their culture in the streets. “People see hope in the film,” Comeau said, noting it's a story that conveys Acadian resilience and pride. Louise Imbeault, president of Société Nationale de l’Acadie, the organization which oversees the World Acadian Congress and a contributor to the film’s financing, said, “sometimes you talk about feel-good movies - this could be a feel-good doc. “I think people want to hear stories where there are things that last in an ever-changing world,” she said, calling it a story of people from one side of the Atlantic still having a lasting connection with people on the other. The documentary also exposes the different experiences of various groups of Acadians. The ancestors of the group visiting from Belle-Île were deported from Acadie and held in England as political prisoners before being released and returned to France eight years later, said Comeau. This is a different history from those who were able to stay hidden in the region during the deportation or settle in different areas of New Brunswick or down the eastern United States. “It’s a different history, a different story,” he said. The experience of displacement is one many groups of people can relate to, Comeau said, noting that there are millions of refugees displaced from other parts of the world at this moment in time, and still other groups who have ancestors with similar experiences. Comeau surmises that may be why the film has done so well on the festival circuit, and is still being requested for screenings. While the film has earned awards and critical praise, significant achievements in his career as a filmmaker, Comeau says he's most touched when the film is screened and well-received in areas where Acadians have settled. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal