Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse unveiled his small-ball starting lineup against the Milwaukee Bucks and discusses what he saw as the advantages and disadvantages of the decision.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse unveiled his small-ball starting lineup against the Milwaukee Bucks and discusses what he saw as the advantages and disadvantages of the decision.
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
ATLANTA — Vernon Jordan, who rose from humble beginnings in the segregated South to become a champion of civil rights before reinventing himself as a Washington insider and corporate influencer, has died, relatives confirmed. He was 85. “It it is with sadness that we confirm that Vernon E. Jordan passed away peacefully last night," his niece, Ann Walker Marchant, said Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press. After serving as field secretary for the Georgia NAACP and executive director of the United Negro College Fund, he headed the National Urban League, becoming the face of Black America’s modern struggle for jobs and justice for more than a decade. He was nearly killed by a racist’s bullet in 1980 before transitioning to business and politics. His friendship with Bill Clinton took them both to the White House. Jordan was an unofficial aide to Clinton, drawing him into controversy during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Jordan “never gave up on his friends or his country," Clinton said Tuesday. Jordan “brought his big brain and strong heart to everything and everybody he touched. And he made them better," Clinton and his wife Hillary said in a statement. Former President Barack Obama said that “like so many others, Michelle and I benefited from Vernon Jordan’s wise counsel and warm friendship — and deeply admired his tireless fight for civil rights." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday on Twitter that “Jordan’s leadership took our nation closer to its Founding promise: all are created equal.” Jordan's death comes months after the deaths of two other civil rights icons: U.S. Rep. John Lewis and C.T. Vivian. After growing up in the Jim Crow South and living much of his life in a segregated America, Jordan took a strategic view of race issues. “My view on all this business about race is never to get angry, no, but to get even,” Jordan said in a New York Times interview in 2000. “You don’t take it out in anger; you take it out in achievement.” Jordan was the first lawyer to head the Urban League, which had traditionally been led by social workers. Under his leadership, the Urban League added 17 more chapters and its budget swelled to more than $100 million. The organization also broadened its focus to include voter registration drives and conflict resolution between Blacks and law enforcement. He resigned from the Urban League in 1982 to become a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld. Jordan was a key campaign adviser to Clinton during his first presidential campaign and co-chaired Clinton’s transition team. His friendship with Clinton, which began in the 1970s, evolved into a partnership and political alliance. He met Clinton as a young politician in Arkansas, and the two connected over their Southern roots and poor upbringings. Although Jordan held held no official role in the Clinton White House, he was highly influential and had such labels as the “first friend.” He approached Colin Powell about becoming Secretary of State and encouraged Clinton to approve the NAFTA agreement in 1993. Jordan also secured a job at Revlon for Lewinsky, a White House intern whose sexual encounters with the president spawned a scandal. Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr., was born in Atlanta on Aug. 15, 1935, the second of Vernon and Mary Belle Jordan’s three sons. Until Jordan was 13, the family lived in public housing. But he was exposed to Atlanta’s elite through his mother, who worked as a caterer for many of the city’s affluent citizens. Jordan went to DePauw University in Indiana, where he was the only Black student in his class and one of five at the college. Distinguishing himself through academics, oratory and athletics, he graduated in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and went on to attend Howard University School of Law in Washington. While there, he married his first wife, Shirley Yarbrough. The young couple moved to Atlanta after Jordan earned his law degree in 1960, and Jordan became a clerk for civil rights attorney Donald Hollowell, who successfully represented two Black students — Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter — attempting to integrate the University of Georgia. In an iconic photograph, Jordan — an imposing 6 feet, 4 inches — is seen holding at bay the white mob that tried to block Hunter from starting her first day of classes. In 1961, Jordan became Georgia field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. During his two years in the role, Jordan built new chapters, co-ordinated demonstrations and boycotted businesses that would not employ Blacks. Jordan moved to Arkansas in 1964 and went into private practice. He also became director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council. During his tenure, millions of new Blacks joined the voter rolls and hundreds of Blacks were elected in the South. Jordan considered running for Georgia’s fifth congressional district seat in 1970, but was tapped that year to head the United Negro College Fund. Holding the position for just 12 months, Jordan used his fundraising skills to fill the organization’s coffers with $10 million to help students at historically Black colleges and universities. In 1971, after the death of Whitney Young Jr., Jordan was named the fifth president of the National Urban League. The high-profile position landed him in the crosshairs of a racist in May 1980 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Jordan was shot with a hunter’s rifle outside his hotel after returning from dinner. Jordan had five surgeries and was visited by President Jimmy Carter during his 3-month recovery in the hospital. “I’m not afraid and I won’t quit,” Jordan told Ebony magazine after the shooting. Joseph Paul Franklin, an avowed white supremacist who targeted Blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980, later admitted to shooting Jordan. He was never prosecuted in Jordan’s case, but was put to death in 2013 for another slaying in Missouri. Jordan left the organization in 1981, but said his departure was unrelated to the shooting. In 2000, Jordan joined the New York investment firm of Lazard Freres & Co. as a senior managing partner. The following year, he released an autobiography, “Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir.” He has received more than 55 honorary degrees, including ones from both of his alma maters and sat on several boards of directors. “He became the model for boards of directors; sitting on countless boards," The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said Tuesday on Twitter. “He became a renowned international lawyer. I miss him so much already." Jordan’s first wife died in 1985. He married Ann Dibble Cook in 1986. ___ Errin Haines, a former staffer of The Associated Press, was the principal writer of this obituary. Jeff Martin And Errin Haines, The Associated Press
Spin Master Corp. recorded meteoric growth in its digital games business in the latest quarter as users of its Toca Life World app filmed themselves playing the game and shared the videos on social media, the company’s co-CEO said Tuesday. “There was a crazy amount of people that were actually filming themselves playing in the game and then uploading it to TikTok, and that exposure of the game really started to increase the amount of users,” Ronnen Harary told investors during a conference call. “When you have that many people seeing the product, playing with the product and telling their friends, there's a multiplier effect.” The Canadian toymaker’s digital games revenue increased by more than 400 per cent to $31.8 million in its fourth quarter, driven by the Toca Life World platform. The app, developed by Spin Master's Swedish app studio Toca Boca, lets players imagine stories for characters in the virtual game, including kids, babies, elders and creatures, and drag the characters around the screen with their finger and make them do activities. While it's free to download the app, Spin Master makes money through the in-game purchases and upgrades. The stronger digital games revenue, also driven in part by its Sago Mini kids app subscription user base, was revealed as the company said its revenue grew 3.6 per cent compared with a year ago for the three months ended Dec. 31. The Toronto-based company said revenue for the quarter was US$490.6 million, up from US$473.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Spin Master's shares surged to a 52-week high and were up over 24 per cent, or $7.01, at $36.07 in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Yet its quarterly results also showed a decline in net sales to $434.3 million, from $441.6 million a year earlier. Mark Segal, Spin Master's chief financial officer, explained that the sales slump was in part due to retailers pulling promotions forward earlier in the fall as well as the company's decision to limit domestic inventory. "This affected our ability to fulfil some late-season replenishment and e-commerce orders, especially on hot items," he told analysts. "While this meant we did not maximize our sales, the position we took allowed us to achieve our best sell-through and cleanest retail and Spin Master inventory levels in many years." Meanwhile, the company will be releasing its feature-length Paw Patrol movie in August, expanding the reach of the company's popular kids entertainment franchise and opening up a new revenue stream. "In terms of increasing our output, you will see more films coming from Spin Master in the future and I think that gives us a whole new way to actually entertain kids," Harary told analysts. "It's really important for everybody to understand that we're actually producing the film, we didn't license the film out ... and take a royalty on it," he said. "Our team internally in Toronto produced the film, we hired the writers, we hired the directors, we did the whole casting with all that amazing voice talent." It's unclear whether there will be a theatrical release for the movie or a combination of theatrical and video on demand, Harary said. Meanwhile, although classic toys and game were a safe choice in 2020, he said consumers will "shift to newness" post-pandemic, he said. The company is preparing for this shift with a robust pipeline of new product development and the goal of greenlighting one to two new properties a year, Harary said. Harary and Anton Rabie, co-founders of the children's entertainment company, will step down from their co-chief executive roles next year. Max Rangel was appointed global president in January and adds the chief executive role to his title in April. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TOY) Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Quebec government has reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March, Health Minister Christian Dube said Tuesday. Dube told a news conference that some 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments for vaccinations by March 15. COVID-19 vaccinations are open to Quebecers aged 85 and older in outlying regions, while they are open to people as young as 70 in the Montreal area. Dube said the Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the B.1.1.7 mutation that was first identified in the United Kingdom. "We're afraid," Dube said. "We’re afraid the Montreal region is the calm before the storm." Quebec reported 588 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Hospitalizations rose by 16 to 628, and 121 people were in intensive care, a drop of one. Dube said that while the general COVID-19 curve is dropping, cases of the U.K. variant are rising quickly. The province has confirmed 137 cases of variants, most of which have been identified in Montreal and involve the U.K. mutation. He said there are also 1,095 presumptive variant cases across Quebec. The province began vaccinating older members of the general public at mass vaccine centres on Monday, and administered 16,458 doses over the course of the day. Dube said the first day was a success despite some small issues, including long lineups at some sites. He said adjustments will be made in the coming days, and also asked people not to show up too early for their appointments in order to avoid a long wait. The minister said mass vaccination would be expanded in other regions as quickly as possible. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Some of the Toronto van attack victims and their families are nervously waiting to learn the fate of the man whose deadly rampage three years ago changed their lives forever.On Wednesday morning, live on YouTube, Justice Anne Molloy will deliver her verdict in the case of Alek Minassian, who deliberately drove a rented van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk on April 23, 2018, killing 10 pedestrians and injured 16 others."I've been anxious for months, much more so than I thought I'd be," said Catherine Riddell, 70, who was out for a walk when Minassian's van hit her from behind.Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, but pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. The 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., argued at trial that he should be found not criminally responsible for his actions due to autism spectrum disorder. The trial will turn on Minassian's mindset at the time."He's a mass killer who has autism, that's it," said Riddell, who suffered a fractured spine and broken ribs, scapula and pelvis in the attack. She also suffered a minor brain injury and internal bleeding."I'm really nervous," said Robert Forsyth, whose aunt, Betty Forsyth, 94, was killed by Minassian when she was out for a walk on an unusually warm and sunny April day. "He's got to be guilty, right?"Betty Forsyth, Ji Hun Kim, So He Chung, Geraldine Brady, Chul Min Kang, Anne Marie Victoria D'Amico, Munir Najjar, Dorothy Marie Sewell, Andrea Bradden and Beutis Renuka Amarasingha died in the attack.The seven-week trial that started in November focused on the inner workings of Minassian's mind. The prosecution opened with a painstakingly detailed examination of how all 26 people were killed or hurt.The trial heard that after weeks of planning, Minassian sat in the driver's seat of his rental van at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in the north end of the city around 1:30 p.m.When the light turned green, he floored it, hopped the curb and hit a group of pedestrians, killing two. He drove for about two kilometres on and off the sidewalk as he killed and maimed unsuspecting pedestrians along the way. Minassian only stopped when one of his victims spilled their drink on his windshield and he worried he'd crash. On a side street he hopped out of the van and tried to get killed by police, "suicide by cop" being part of his plan. Minassian tried to fool an approaching police officer by pulling his wallet, pretending it was a gun, but it didn't work."I'm a murdering piece of shit," Minassian told the booking officer shortly thereafter.Several hours later Minassian told a detective he committed the attack as retribution against society because he was a lonely virgin who believed women wouldn't have sex with him. Later, he told various assessors that the so-called "incel" motive was a ruse, designed to increase his notoriety. He was still a lonely virgin, however, that part was true.He went on to tell different doctors different reasons for his attack. He said he had "extreme anxiety" over a new job he was about to start. He also wanted to "set a world record" for kills in order to be atop an online leaderboard of mass killers.If he accomplished that, then he wouldn't be viewed as a failure, he told a forensic psychiatrist. Minassian also told them he had a strong desire to commit a mass killing and was infatuated with an American mass murderer.The central question at trial was whether Minassian knew what he did was morally wrong. The legal test in this case focuses on whether he had the capacity at the time to make a rational choice.The defence's star witness, American-based forensic psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Westphal, testified that Minassian's autism left him without the ability to develop empathy.Minassian's lawyer, Boris Bytensky, said that lack of empathy left him incapable of rational choice, and, ultimately, to know what he did was morally wrong. The prosecution argued Minassian knew what he did was wrong, in part because he told many of his assessors he knew killing 10 people that day was morally wrong.Minassian had a decade-long fixation on mass school shootings, the Crown pointed out. That fixation morphed into fantasies of committing a mass shooting at his own high school, where he was picked on.But he never followed through, in part, because he did not know how to get a gun. "There's no evidence he ever lost the fact of the wrongness of his actions," said Crown attorney Joe Callaghan.The prosecution's key witness, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Percy Wright, said Minassian had some empathy and knew what he did was wrong, thereby did not qualify for the test that he was not criminally responsible for his actions.Renowned forensic psychiatrist, Dr. John Bradford, who has evaluated some of the country's most notorious killers, said Minassian did not meet the test to be found not criminally responsible.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
A B.C. professor would like to see a robot take your vitals when you visit a doctor in the somewhat near future. Dr. Woo Soo Kim, associate professor of mechatronic systems engineering at Simon Fraser University, has developed health care robots that can measure heart rate, respiration rate, temperature and oxygen levels. The oxygen level measurement in particular could be used to monitor severe COVID-19 patients. He hopes the sensor robots can support doctors and nurses, and is currently using two prototypes to collaborate with a team of Vancouver Coastal Health researchers on how a technology like this could be applied in practice. There’s a lot to be worked out — including how comfortable will patients be receiving care from a robot – but Kim hopes to have sensing robots in health care in five to 10 years. He imagines a full complement of medical care robots, including passive bots that take vitals, companion bots that would hang out with patients to regularly monitor vitals so people don’t need to wear an uncomfortable device, and even receptionist bots. We might already be warming up to machine-based medical care, as a recent report indicated most British Columbians now prefer virtual meetings with their doctors for routine check ups. READ MORE: Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study His lab, Additive Manufacturing in SFU’s Surrey campus, has been working on advanced 3D printing, wearable technology and sensing robots since he arrived in 2010, and narrowed their focus health care uses in 2018. He works with six to seven students and interns. Now they have two working prototypes to take to doctors and nurses. One is an arm, completely made in the lab with 3D printed origami. The second machine is a shiny, white humanoid that Kim’s lab has added on their own hand with highly specialized electron sensors. The origami design was chosen not just because it’s cool. His lab has spent years testing various architectural solids with 3D printing, and found that “3D origami structures have naturally less fatigue characteristics with re-configurable structures. So, it’s good if they are used for bending structures such as our fingers,” Kim said. Funding has been partially provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the lab is applying for more grants to expand development. The first stage of robotic health care is passive, with the machines gathering information and sharing results with human health care professionals, but Kim envisions future machines that could be more involved. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
Councillor Daryn Watson Absent Request For Decision (RFD) Two RFDs were reviewed and then passed: · Alberta Police Interim Advisory Board's (APIAB) Quarterly Report: Council received the APIAB's first quarterly report. The report outlines the work that the board has done since last October. A motion was passed to accept this report as information. · Natural Gas Aggregation Round: The Alberta Municipal Services Corporation (AMSC) is offering customers who are in their energy program to take part in their next procurement round for natural gas. This will take advantage of buying at a lower price than the market price. These lower prices can be locked in for a duration allowing for budget stability and long-term planning. The Town's current natural gas pricing expires at the end of the 2022 calendar year. CAO Lewis will begin negotiations on a 2023 – 2026 contract to take advantage of lower pricing in a locked-down rate. Correspondence & Information · Community Futures/Ballad COVID-19 Fund Project Letter: The joint COVID-19 impact study is moving forward. The study explores employer/employee needs and workforce impacts due to COVID-19 and identifies immediate and future assistance for the business community and labour market. The Town has emailed all of the businesses that were on their initial list. CAO Report · Started the Alberta Safety Codes formal audit on Feb. 22. It is scheduled to wrap up on Feb. 26. The Town is also working with Superior Safety Codes to put together the information and review for the Safety Codes yearly self-audit, which is due in March. · The kickoff meeting for the Fireguard project was held on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Work started on Feb. 24; Blue Ridge is currently working east of the fire road. · Met with Sea Hawk consulting on Feb. 11 to review Emergency Management items and reviewed the audit of Fire Services. · Working with Alberta Parks to finalize the agreements for the operation of local campgrounds. With the Freeman Lake campground, there is the potential that they will replace the outhouse, perform some tree clean-up, and provide picnic tables and fire rings. The Town is also exploring the possibility of Alberta Parks doing some repairs on the camp house. · Working on the Statements of Financials and Expenditures (SFEs) for the Municipal Stimulus Program and Municipal Operating Support Transfer grants for the province. · The next Statistics Canada population census will take place in May 2021. There does not appear to be anyone from Swan Hills that has applied for the census worker positions with Statistics Canada. · The Provincial budget is scheduled to be tabled on Thursday, Feb. 25. There are not a lot of hints from the provincial government as to what it may contain. · The COVID-19 vaccination program has opened up to seniors that were born in 1946 or earlier. The response has been overwhelming; by 10:00 AM, AHS had 9000 people booked for vaccination appointments. There has been frustration because the system did reach the point that they couldn't handle the volume of calls. · The province is supposed to move to Step 2 of the COVID-19 reopening plan on Mar. 1. The province had indicated to the municipalities that they would be given roughly a week's notice of potential changes, but so far, there hasn't been any information beyond a hint that changes may be announced on Mar. 1. It is unclear if the province will move fully into Step 2 or if only part of the Step 2 changes will be implemented. There are some complications; while the hospitalization numbers are below the threshold to move to the next step, the R number (a measure of a disease's ability to spread) is still higher than the target value. · Douglas Borg, the Returning Officer for the 2021 Municipal Election, will be coming for a meeting on Feb. 26 to start the preparations for the coming election. · The lease for the 50+ building is coming to an end. The Town will be reviewing the lease to see if there are any changes needed before it is renewed. Operations and Infrastructure · Upon further evaluation of the Emergency Fire Water pump replacement project, we have decided that powering all internal equipment in the event of a power outage is a more effective solution for the facility. In an extended power outage, we would maintain full capability at the reservoir, not only for our ability to fight fire in this condition but to continue full service to residents and businesses alike. · The failed sewage lift station pump is still on backorder due to COVID. · Our level one operator at WTP has now completed course requirements for distribution level one and will write their final exam to complete this course as soon as it is practical. · The Public Works Supervisor has resigned. We will be interviewing for this position over the next few weeks. Reports · Mayor Craig Wilson reported on a meeting with the Barrhead and District Social Housing Association on Feb. 17. The meeting was held at their new facility and included a tour. Phase one of the Hillcrest Manor building has been completed and has passed all of the municipal standards (plumbing, heating, mechanical, etc.) and is waiting for the lodge's approval. Once this has been completed and residents can move into the building, demolition and then construction will begin on phase two. -There was a Golden Triangle meeting by Zoom. The Swan Hills and Fox Creek areas are in excellent shape, but the Whitecourt area isn't in very good condition due to mild weather and lack of snow. · Councillor Carol Webster attended the Growing the North Conference last month, noting the Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) is working on an economic recovery tool kit with free downloads for municipalities. They have also been working on an insider app for a support local initiative. A disaster management tool has been completed for businesses to develop a ready-made disaster management plan. Webster has shared the document with local and regional Chambers of Commerce. -Community Futures Yellowhead East (CFYE) met on Feb. 18. The board approved their 20/21 budget and operational plans and approved the application of a SIP grant (Sectorial Initiatives Program). This provincial grant offers up to $2.5 M/year for 3 years to a total of $7.5 million to assist key sectors of the economy in identifying, forecasting, and addressing their human resources and skills issues. -GROWTH AB met on Feb. 23, inviting CFYE and Ballad consulting to assist the group in determining the future plans for the organization. Made up of 6 regional municipalities, the board plans a restructuring of the non-profit group with a strategic planning session in March with the intent to explore membership and organizational restructuring. -The Regional Chamber of Commerce met on Feb. 24. The Alberta Chamber of Commerce has received a $4.5 million grant to help out smaller Chambers of Commerce, which will soon be rolling out to C of C’s across the province. Two new business support programs were introduced: The Canada United Grant (administered through the Government of Ontario) is open to all Canadian Businesses offers $5000 in funding to businesses with revenue of $150,000 to $3 million to recover costs related to COVID-19 (PPE, renovations, e-commerce development, etc.); the second is the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit which will take over from the Small and Medium Enterprise Grant (which will conclude on Mar. 31) to provide up to an additional $10,000 to the small businesses that have been impacted the hardest by the pandemic. · Councillor Elizabeth Krawiec also reported on the Grow the North Conference. There was great information on winter and shoulder season tourism as well as the future of hydrogen. -Communities in Bloom will be setting up a meeting to discuss planning for the year. Councillor Krawiec is now the Chairperson/contact person. · Councillor Jeff Goebel received a notification about the upcoming wellness fair and sent it to a wildlife biologist in the area to inquire about adding a bear awareness demonstration to the proceedings. · CAO Bill Lewis updated Council that the wellness fair has been moved to September in the hopes that the pandemic conditions will be more favourable. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
In days, Ontario is set to receive its first batch of a third COVID-19 vaccine. But that new shot— the AstraZenca vaccine — won’t be administered anyone over the age of 64. The news comes as the province is also debating a major change when it comes to how quickly people can get their second shot. Travis Dhanraj reports.
New COVID-19 restrictions that were announced on Friday have forced the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League to call an end to its season. With games not allowed in the Halifax and East Hants areas, it means the Cole Harbour Colts, East Hants Penguins and Sackville Blazers could not play. The rosters of three other league teams — the Liverpool Privateers, the Brookfield Elks and Valley Maple Leafs in Windsor — have players who live in the Halifax region. When the restrictions were announced last week, Nova Scotians were asked to avoid all non-essential travel. The restrictions are in place until March 26 and could be extended beyond that date. "A good portion of the league's teams couldn't continue until at least the end of March," said league president Heather Campbell. "If they did come back at the end of March, they still wouldn't be able to finish their season because they would still have all of their playoff games to complete." Liam Kidney celebrates a recent goal with his Cape Breton Eagles teammates. The Eagles are the only team in the QMJHL's Maritimes division currently allowed to play games. The vote to end the season by the league's board of governors means that Pictou County, Antigonish, Eskasoni, Glace Bay and Port Hawkesbury, which make up their own division, will also shut down even though they are still allowed to play. Their teams are not impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions and all of their players live outside of the restricted zone. "Our players dealt with it with a wide range of emotions from anger and frustration to tears," said Port Hawkesbury general manager Tim MacMillan. "We understand and we are disappointed, but when you think of your league as a whole, and if we all can't compete, then we really can't move forward." Other leagues are also having major issues. The Halifax Mooseheads are in the restricted zone and can't play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Cape Breton Eagles could play, but have no available opposition. The Eagles are the only team in the QMJHL's Maritimes division currently permitted to play. Charlottetown and all three New Brunswick teams — Acadie-Bathurst, Saint John and Moncton — are also currently shut down, although New Brunswick teams can resume games against each other next week. "The players are really starting to get frustrated mentally more than anything else," said Cape Breton president Gerard Shaw. "It's also really frustrating trying to run the business side too with trying to keep the fans engaged and making changes to tickets and scheduling." New COVID-19 restrictions mean hockey games cannot be played rinks like the Civic arena in Halifax until at least March 26. All six Nova Scotia teams in the Maritime Junior Hockey League are continuing to play, but league officials have had to postpone many games and juggle the schedule all season long. With the local restrictions in Nova Scotia being enforced into late March, it will be getting close to the time when most arenas in the province take out their ice. But some leagues will be making schedule adjustments to try to extend their seasons. The Nova Scotia U15 Hockey League is comprised of a dozen teams. Six are based inside the restricted zone in the Halifax/East Hants area and are now on pause. The other six teams in the league from the rest of the province will continue to play exhibition games until a new modified league schedule can be drawn up for when the restrictions are lifted. The new restrictions also mean some minor hockey associations are being split up. The East Hants Sportsplex is located in Lantz, which is included in the restricted zone along with nearby Elmsdale and Enfield. That means 40 per cent of the players in the East Hants Minor Hockey Association who live outside the three communities are now not permitted to travel to practices at their home rink. "It's caused quite an uproar for our players and our association, and we are working diligently with Hockey Nova Scotia and the province," said Rob Doucette, the president of the East Hants Minor Hockey Association. "We just want to look at things from a common sense perspective because the kids have been practising together all season since September, they go to school together and ride the bus together." MORE TOP STORIES
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 today and one more death attributed to the novel coronavirus.Health officials say the province's 28th COVID-19-related death involves a resident in their 80s of the Manoir Belle Vue long-term care home in Edmundston. The care facility has reported a total of eight deaths linked to the pandemic.The four new infections are all in the Miramichi region and bring to 36 the number of active reported cases in New Brunswick. Three patients are in hospital with the disease, all in intensive care. Officials say in a news release that a positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Miramichi High School, which is closed this week for March break. The release did not say when the case was identified.A recent infection reported in the Miramichi region has been identified as a presumptive case of the B.1.1.7 mutation, first detected in the United Kingdom. A previously reported case from the Edmundston area that had been identified as the U.K. variant has been found not to be that mutation.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
FORT FRANCES — A 26-year-old resident of Couchiching First Nation has been charged with uttering counterfeit money. Rainy River District Ontario Provincial Police were called to investigate the use of a counterfeit $100 bill, according to a news release issued March 1. Police were able to quickly identify a suspect from surveillance equipment in the victim’s business. As a result Brett Tuesday, 26, was charged and will appear in Fort Frances court on March 22. Police are reminding businesses and members of the public to look for the following signs of counterfeit money: For more information on how to detect counterfeit bills, the OPP recommends visiting the Bank of Canada website. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
NEW YORK — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said Tuesday that it plans to have a live induction of its 36th class on Oct. 30 in Cleveland — before an actual audience! The induction ceremony will take place in the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and tickets will be available to the general public. “We are optimistic and hopeful for the ceremony,” said Greg Harris, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Inductees will be announced in May. Nominees include Jay-Z, the Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, The Go-Go's, Devo and Carole King. Currently, Ohio permits crowds of up to 25% capacity at the arena for Cavaliers games. The hall is hopeful that the percentage will increase by the time of the induction, but promised to follow best health practices. It will be the sixth time the induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. For the past decade, the hall has invited fans to buy tickets for the speeches and live performances, instead of just an audience of industry insiders. Harris said a fall induction ceremony, moved from the spring last year because of COVID, will become permanent. He seemed wistful at a news conference as he played a clip of past ceremonies, to the sound of Prince's performance of “Let's Go Crazy” from his induction. “Watching that footage makes me realize how much we miss live music,” he said. The Associated Press
Most coastal residents are suitably enthralled with charismatic or charming marine animals such as killer whales, the iconic Pacific salmon or furry sea otters. But what of the lowly sea cucumber? It’s likely most people don’t give much thought to the fairly ubiquitous and possibly misunderstood invertebrate, said scientist Emaline Montgomery. She along with other researchers on the West Coast of Canada are exploring how some unsung heroes of the seabed may be the ticket to a more sustainable form of aquaculture. Apostichopus californicus, or the giant red sea cucumber, is a slightly alarming, spiky, squishy creature that can grow 50 centimetres long and sustains itself by eating detritus off the ocean floor and using its butt to breathe. But it’s the sea cucumber’s ability to remove excess organic matter from surrounding water and sediment that makes it interesting for aquaculture, said Montgomery, a research associate and instructor at North Island College (NIC). Montgomery’s research focus is on the co-cultivation of various species together to improve the sustainability and profitability of aquaculture. Known popularly as regenerative ocean farming, Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) uses extractive species like sea cucumbers or seaweed to filter or absorb the uneaten feed or waste from fish farms or shellfish operations. The aim of regenerative aquaculture is to mimic the natural food web to both improve marine ecosystem health and increase the number of products that can be grown at one site. The giant red sea cucumber is an attractive candidate for co-cultivation because it hoovers up deposits off the sea floor, and it can fetch a good price in international markets, said Montgomery. “I think of them as nature’s recyclers,” she said, adding sea cucumbers don’t need to be fed, as they extract what they need from their surroundings with a set of specialized tentacles. “It’s why sea cucumbers are so valuable,” she added. “They're able to consume the waste products, either excess food or feces that are being produced by shellfish or fin fish, and they're able to take that organic material, assimilate it, use it for their own nutritional benefits.” And what the sea cucumber spits out the other side of its digestive system has less impact on the marine environment, Montgomery said. Plus, sea cucumbers have long been a highly valued food item with sought-after health benefits in Asian markets, she said. Montgomery is working with shellfish growers to find cheap, easy-to-use containment systems to raise shellfish and sea cucumbers together to increase growers’ incomes. But this spring, she is also slated to begin research with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to examine the commercial feasibility of raising sea cucumbers in conjunction with salmon farms. “One of the questions that we're going to be looking at is whether there are any risks to the salmon or the cucumbers from each other,” Montgomery said. There’s a solid history of theoretical research done in Canada exploring the idea of using sea cucumbers alongside fish farms, said Montgomery. When grown solely on the sable fish waste sediment, juvenile sea cucumbers showed good growth and survival rates and reduced the organic carbon and nitrogen content in byproduct materials by 60 per cent. “But nothing's been done at a large enough scale to determine if this is feasible to integrate with our current industries or not,” Montgomery said. “That's one of our goals, over the next year.” The scientist said she first became entranced with studying sea cucumbers in university. “What I discovered is this organism that looks like a blob, and might be written off by a lot of people, actually has a lot of complexity,” Montgomery said. Besides their interesting qualities, sea cucumbers have a lot to offer ecologically, she said. “But there is also a king of missing opportunity in Canada to grow these species where there are really good markets,” Montgomery said, adding both the economy and the environment stand to benefit. “Some of the (aquaculture) practices we already have in place are experiencing a lot of criticism,” she added. “If we can continue to improve that, I think it’s good for all Canadians.” Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Jihadis linked to the Islamic State group attacked the northeastern Nigerian town of Dikwa and humanitarian posts there, security officials said. The attack in Borno state that began late Monday night came about 48 hours after the governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum, visited the community along with other officials, to distribute cash and food to displaced families there. The assailants arrived in trucks and motorcycles, surrounding residents and people staying at a camp for people who are displaced within Nigeria, residents said. The member representing Dikwa at the Borno state House of Assembly, Zakariya Dikwa, said they burned down the police station, the primary health centre and attacked humanitarian offices and left with their vehicles. “The attack was massive because the Boko Haram fighters went there with over 13 gun trucks — all of which had their bodies pasted with mud,” he said. The military later confirmed the fighters are with Boko Haram offshoot The Islamic State of West Africa Province, known as ISWAP. It said in a statement Tuesday that the military had routed the jihadis from Dikwa with heavy bombardment and firepower. The jihadis tried to invade the town after hearing of the food distribution. The U.N. co-ordinator of humanitarian affairs in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, also confirmed an attack on humanitarian facilities in Dikwa, saying several aid facilities were directly targeted, in a statement released by the UNOCHA office in Nigeria. “The attack started last night and, as information is still coming through, I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze or sustained damage,” he said. “I strongly condemn the attack and am deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in Dikwa, including internally displaced people inside and outside camps and thousands of people who had returned to the community to rebuild their lives after years in displacement.” The attack “will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic risks spreading in Borno State,” he said. ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and has become a threat in the region. Nigeria has been fighting the more than 10-year Boko Haram insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions. Haruna Umar, The Associated Press
It started as a small outlet for a few students at Dr. John C. Wickwire in Liverpool, but it’s grown into a school-wide passion. Staff members of the Queens County elementary school, including Chris Kaulback, Isaac Rafuse and Adam Leuschner, introduced the sport of skateboarding three years ago to a select group of students as a way for them to burn off a bit of stress and get ready for the day. “Students that I work with generally would be labelled as having behavioural challenges and they may struggle within the core confines of the walls of the classroom,” said Kaulback, who works in the school’s Connect Centre. Skateboarding is giving the students a “sense of belonging, the sense of community and really giving them that opportunity to see that they can excel in other parts of the school. It doesn’t have to be just academics,” he added. The students skateboarded in the gym in the mornings, and at other times periodically during the week. “It’s been a huge success for my kids,” said Kaulback, noting that it gives the students experiential-based learning opportunities. Soon, other students began asking to join in, prompting the instructors to launch a noon-hour club. The interest was such that skateboarding now has become part of the physical education curriculum. The program follows the Making Tracks - Skate Pass Training, which was developed by Halifax’s Ecology Action Center, and skateboarding guidelines within the Nova Scotia physical education curriculum. According to Leuschner, the program has given them new opportunities as educators. “There is a lot of research surrounding skateboarding and its ability to regulate students and help them find their calm,” he said. “We tell kids to calm down, but at the elementary level they don’t know what it feels like. We are trying to support them in understanding how your body feels when you’re actually in a calm state and skateboarding is a real good tool to do that.” Grade 5 student Devilyn Moore agreed. “It feels relaxing and fun and we get to socialize,” he said. Currently, the program is only open to students in Grades 3 to 5 because of safety regulations. However, the teachers are working on plans to introduce the younger students to the activity as well. Leuschner suggested that while students have played a lot of intramural games, and been a part of different programs, the skateboard program stands out. “It’s really quite something. When you walk into the gym when the skate program is going on, you really see a lot of pro-social behaviour,” he said. “You see a lot of smiles, a lot of kids joking about and you see kids helping each other out.” The school’s program has received support from companies and groups across Canada, including Landyachtz in Vancouver, Surf Ontario and Rollin Boardshop in Montreal. “They have given us a lot of great deals. They know how important a program like this is for the youth,” said Rafuse. “With the support we’ve had, we’ve been able to really push the program as far as we could.” The school has acquired 30 skateboards for the kids to use along with 50 sets of safety gear. The students are using Carver skateboards. Although a bit more expensive, “we knew they would be the most conducive to small bodies,” said Rafuse. “It was going to be the quickest board for them to learn on.” The boards aren’t cheap, running about $400 each, but, according to Kaulback, the board is well suited to the task. It uses a truck system that mimics surfing and snowboarding by getting speed up through pumping (shifting your weight from your heels to your toes in rhythm). Kaulback noted that this rhythm is one piece that ties into the self-regulation aspect of the program. Program modifications are ongoing, and plans are to purchase some ramps and obstacles in the future. “We are trying not only to support our students in their need to regulate, but also to have some fun and learn new skills,” said Leuschner. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
TORONTO — Ontario's health minister says the province won't administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to seniors. Christine Elliott says the province plans to follow the advice of a national panel recommending against using that vaccine on people aged 65 and older. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot not be used for seniors due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations. Elliott says the vaccine could more easily be used in sites like correctional facilities because it does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as other vaccines already in use. She also says the province is waiting for recommendations from the immunization committee on whether Ontario can extend the interval between administering first and second vaccine doses to four months. Elliott says Ontario will share its updated vaccine rollout plan once that advice is received, factoring in expected supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as well. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
AGASSIZ, B.C. — An autopsy is expected after the death of an 11-year-old boy severely injured several days ago at his family's home east of Vancouver. Agassiz RCMP said Monday that the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team had taken over the case because the boy was not expected to survive. Sgt. Frank Jang, spokesman for the homicide team, says the child died later that day from extensive injuries, but few other details are being released. The boy had been rushed to hospital in critical condition Friday after being injured in his home in the community of Harrison Mills, about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver. Police say the autopsy expected this week will help pinpoint the cause of death. Jang says the matter is isolated, the community is not at risk and no arrests have been made. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some members of his own party call for him to resign over sexual harassment allegations. The governor hasn’t taken questions from reporters since a Feb. 19 briefing, an unusually long gap for a Democrat whose daily, televised updates on the coronavirus pandemic were must-see TV last spring. He was last before video cameras Thursday, when he introduced President Joe Biden at a virtual meeting of the National Governor’s Association, which he chairs. He also participated Tuesday in the group's conference call, which was off-limits to reporters. Neither Cuomo nor his spokespeople have commented on the latest allegation made against him Monday night. A woman told The New York Times that Cuomo touched her lower back, then grabbed her cheeks and asked to kiss her at a September 2019 wedding. Most leading Democrats have signalled they want to wait for the results of an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into claims that Cuomo sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. State Democratic Party chair Jay Jacobs, a close Cuomo ally, said it’s “premature” to opine before the investigation concludes. That inquiry has yet to begin. James said her office is working to hire an outside law firm to conduct it. U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said New York's congressional delegation in Washington has not met on the issue but “everyone is monitoring the situation closely.” “Well these are very serious allegations and they require a very serious investigation,” Jeffries told reporters Tuesday. “I’m confident that Attorney General Tish James will get to the bottom of everything, release a report that’s fully transparent and then we can decide the best way to proceed thereafter.” As of midday Tuesday, at least one Democratic Congress member from Long Island — U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice — four state senators, several left-leaning Assembly members and the leaders of the progressive Working Families Party said they have already heard enough and that Cuomo should resign. Some suggested he be impeached. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has had a contentious relationship with Cuomo for years, said Tuesday that “if these allegations are true, he cannot govern." "He would not be able to govern, it’s as simple as that,” the Democrat said. Asked by a reporter whether Cuomo should resume holding in-person events, de Blasio said, “I think all leaders have to answer tough questions from the media, regardless of whether it’s convenient.” One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett rejected Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he'd been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan's allegations. The woman who spoke to The New York Times about Cuomo's conduct at the wedding, Anna Ruch, hasn’t responded to request for comment from The Associated Press. Ruch told the newspaper that when she removed Cuomo's hand from her back, he called her “aggressive,” placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her. Cuomo then planted a kiss on her cheek as she turned away. A photograph taken by a friend captured a look of discomfort on Ruch's face as the governor held her face. “I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he is the one who should have been embarrassed," Ruch told newspaper. Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press