The PEACH team is made up of doctors, nurses, and social workers. Palliative care physician Dr. Trevor Morey and Health Navigator Leeann Trevors describe their approach to their roles that help oversee the palliative care for close 100 people.
The PEACH team is made up of doctors, nurses, and social workers. Palliative care physician Dr. Trevor Morey and Health Navigator Leeann Trevors describe their approach to their roles that help oversee the palliative care for close 100 people.
NEW YORK — The head of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday declined to encourage former President Donald Trump to run for the White House in 2024, saying the GOP would stay “neutral” in its next presidential primary. In an interview, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel also described the pro-Trump conspiracy theory group known as QAnon as “dangerous." The national GOP, under McDaniel's leadership, spent the past four years almost singularly focused on Trump's 2020 reelection. But should he run again in 2024 — and he has publicly and privately suggested he wants to — the national party infrastructure would not support his ambitions over those of other prospective candidates, in accordance with party rules, she said. “The party has to stay neutral. I’m not telling anybody to run or not to run in 2024,” McDaniel told The Associated Press when asked whether she wanted to see Trump run again in the next presidential election. “That’s going to be up to those candidates going forward. What I really do want to see him do, though, is help us win back majorities in 2022.” Just months removed from the last presidential election, several Republican prospects have already begun jockeying for position for the 2024 contest. McDaniel is far more focused on the 2022 midterms, when Republicans have an opportunity to break the Democrats' monopoly on Congress. McDaniel is in a difficult political position as she begins her new term as the national GOP chair. She has been a devoted Trump loyalist, but as the RNC leader, she is also tasked with helping her party recover from its painful 2020 election season in which Republicans lost the Senate and the White House and failed to win back the House. Trump's fervent base continues to demand loyalty to the former president, even as some party officials acknowledge that Trump's norm-shattering behaviour alienated elements of the coalition the GOP needs to win future elections. Tensions are especially high within the party as the Senate prepares for Trump's second impeachment trial. Ten House Republicans voted earlier in the month to impeach the former president for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and on Tuesday, five Senate Republicans voted to move forward with a trial that could ultimately ban him from holding public office ever again. McDaniel acknowledged the frustration of Trump's base, which remains a powerful voice in the party and has little tolerance for Republican officials unwilling to stand behind the former president and his achievements in office. But she repeatedly called for party unity and discouraged elected officials from attacking other Republicans — even those who voted to impeach Trump. She declined to single out any specific Republicans when pressed, however, including Trump loyalist Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who is travelling to Wyoming this week to campaign against Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the highest-ranking House Republican who voted for Trump's impeachment. “If we’re fighting each other every day and attacking each other and brandishing party purism, we’re not going to accomplish what we need to to win back the House and take back the Senate, and that’s my priority,” McDaniel said. She also forcefully condemned the pro-Trump QAnon movement, a large group of conspiracy theorists who were a visible presence at the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. Trump repeatedly declined to denounce the group while in the White House. “I think it’s really important after what’s just happened in our country that we have some self-reflection on the violence that’s continuing to erupt in our country,” McDaniel said, pointing to violence across the political spectrum. “I think QAnon is beyond fringe. I think it’s dangerous.” Moving forward, she said that voters, not Trump, are the head of the Republican Party, though Trump continues to maintain “a huge, huge presence” with his base. McDaniel said she's expecting several Republican leaders to play a significant role in the party's future, mentioning former Vice-President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations. Both are also considered potential 2024 presidential contenders. She also downplayed reports that Trump is considering leaving the GOP and starting a new party, warning that such a move would divide Republicans and "guarantee Democrat wins up and down the ticket. “It would be basically a rubber stamp on Democrats getting elected. And I think that's the last thing that any Republican wants,” she said. "It’s clear that he understands that.” Steve Peoples, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Alphabet unit Google on Wednesday opened a centre to tackle harmful online content, in a move also designed to ease regulatory concerns about how the company and other tech giants police a growing problem on the internet. The world's most popular search engine, along with other U.S. tech giants, has drawn criticism because of the spread of illegal and harmful content via their platforms, triggering calls for more regulatory action. The 27-country European Union has taken the lead in proposing tough new rules to curb their powers, protect smaller rivals and make them take more responsibility for removing harmful content from their platforms.
Eganville – Municipal Wayfinders Group came back swinging against assertions from the Bonnechere Union Library CEO who had challenged “their data, findings and competencies” and while they were at it also took a swipe at the Eganville Leader. “Untrue and disparaging public remarks founded on unrealistic assertions are unprofessional and damaging to our firm and our team’s reputations,” Michael Wildman of Wayfinders said during a committee meeting of Bonnechere Valley council last Tuesday. “They ought to be known as unwelcome. They are unnecessary in professional disagreements.” The consultants also requested a “written apology and retraction from the Library CEO regarding her comments about our firm and team.” The Wayfinders group was back at council not only asking for an apology from the Library CEO Nikolina Likarevic but also refuting her comments and standing by their original recommendations to reduce library hours. “At the crux of what our recommendation is we did not want to get into all the details of wages and expenditures, we were looking at hours,” David Reid of Wayfinders said. “That was the recommendation of reducing the hours and even if you use those comparators the average hours per library is 41 hours and average per branch is 29 hours, so significantly less than the 48 hours the Bonnechere Union Library is open.” Comparing BUPL to libraires in the county, the library is the third highest at a percentage of the levy used for the library, he said. In BV, 5.67 per cent of the levy goes to the library. The highest figure in the county is Deep River where 7.95 per cent of the levy goes to the library. Petawawa uses 4.96 per cent of the levy for the library and Pembroke 3.46. As far as neighbouring municipalities to BUPL, KHR uses 2. 97 per cent of the levy for the library, Admaston/Bromley uses 0.99 per cent and North Algona Wilberforce 2.38 per cent. “We just based it on the tax levy (the amount collected from municipal ratepayers),” Mr. Reid explained. “The BV portion is about 60 per cent higher than the average and the third highest of the 17 municipalities in Renfrew County.” The Financial Circumstances Index of the township shows with an index of 8.8, BV can best be compared to a municipality like Madawaska Valley with a population served at the library of 4,954 and 29 hours of service to the public, the consultants showed. Its expenditures are $189,393 and wages/benefits are $132,097. By contrast, BV has a served population of 5,339 and is open 48 hours a week. The expenditures are $271,030 and wages/benefits $201,369. Looking at comparator libraries, including those used as a comparator by the librarian and the consultations, the average is expenditures of $225,682 and wages/benefits of $157,371. As well other comparator hours were lower at 32.5 per library or 21.7 per branch. Along with his colleague, they gave an extensive presentation about not only their report, but also the assertions made by the librarian. “We have serious concerns with the assertions made by the Library CEO,” Mr. Wildman said. “In many cases they are false, based on flawed and problematic information and are misleading.” He said while the librarian’s presentation used only a fraction of the data collected by the consultants, this was not a factual representation of the extensive data presented by the consultants. Mr. Wildman said the CEO’s “omissions fuel a false narrative.” As far as comparators, Wayfinders used several and based them on location, population, households, services provided and fiscal circumstances. The original report from Wayfinders was on finding efficiencies and he stresses BV’s ability to pay needed to be considered when deciding about library services and competing funding issues. “We are in the firm view this is an imperative consideration,” he said of the fiscal circumstances. Mr. Wildman said while the librarian strongly relied on the Federation of Public Libraries report, the consultants looked at audited statements and multiple reliable sources. He pointed out even the FOPL report places a caveat on the information contained since there are discrepancies with reporting. He re-iterated the closest comparators to the situation in BV are Bancroft, Marmora Lake and Madawaska Valley. While the librarian looked for other comparators, he said it was important to have similar comparators and data. He said her use of Band 6 as a comparator base for libraries with populations of between 5,000 and 15,000 was not a good starting point. “Unfortunately, this does not mean that every or any library in Band 6 is necessarily comparable for the purpose of the Operational Review report,” he said. “It is a great leap to make this assumption.” The BUPL is one of the smallest libraries in this band, with only two libraries serving fewer residents. Many of those libraries are in single tier municipalities and many have much better fiscal circumstances than Bonnechere Valley, he said. “As noted, ability to pay is an essential and responsible consideration,” he said. For example, Muskoka Lakes comparator residential tax base is over $9.5 billion, almost 2,000 per cent higher than BV at $467 million. Mr. Wildman said while the consultants agree hours of operation are not directly equivalent to staff hours, there is an impact. A reduction of hours from the then current 48 hours a week to 30 would result in a savings of around $78,000. “We reduced the number to $50,000 to $60,000 for a potential savings of 63 per cent to 76 per cent,” he said. Leader Article Mr. Wildman also took issue with the Leader reporting the December meeting in which Bonnechere Union CEO Nikolina Likarevic described the report as one with “big conclusions backed by limited and often inaccurate data that demonstrates little understanding of library operations.” He stated Wayfinders should have been given an opportunity to refute the comments made by the CEO for a fairer article. However, the Leader was accurately reporting what was said at a council meeting as is the policy at the newspaper when covering any municipal council meeting. The Leader had previously done an extensive article on the original presentation done by Wayfinders in the fall. At that point many recommendations were made, including reducing the library hours, consolidating fire and public works operations at one location and considering selling Eganville Power Generation as a money-losing venture. As is Leader policy, this was reported as what was stated at the time with no follow-up questions to the library, fire department/works department or EGC board. However, the Leaderdoes continue to report what is said in follow up meetings to present each side of an issue as it has done for issues in the past resulting from council or committee meetings. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
For the first time in 60 years, Fort Frances’ Dairy Queen has a new owner. Yogesh Patel became the new owner of the local Dairy Queen in November which was formally run by Christin Thomson and her sister Candice Thomson Kadikoff. Patel said he has friends in Fort Frances who told him it was a good opportunity and also said the people and the town are really nice. Patel said he grew up in a small town in India until he was 22, when he then he moved to Canada. His father is a farmer and he said because of him he knows a bit about farming and that he enjoys the small town atmosphere because it reminds him of where he grew up. “The town atmosphere is very attractive to me. It is in my heart,” Patel said. He said it is also nice not to be stuck in traffic anymore, which was a common problem when he lived in Edmonton. Now he enjoys a much more peaceful lifestyle. Thomson, who started wiping counters at the Dairy Queen as soon as she could reach them, said she never envisioned that one day she would be running the business. She had dreams of becoming a professional golf player even going away to school on a golf scholarship. but had to put those dreams on hold when her dad got sick. Thomson and her sister then took over the business and ran it for 13 out of the 60 years. She said that over the years they have doubled in sales and gone through a few renovations, making it quite a different business since their grandparents and father ran it. Although business at the Dairy Queen was booming, Thomson said they were ready to move on. “We just had different personal interests that we wanted to pursue and we kind of felt that it was time,” Thomson said. As the third generation to run the business, Thomson said it was a hard decision to come to because of the family ties. “It’s the family connection that is the hardest to move on from but we’re very proud of what we did to carry on that tradition and it will always be something that we can be proud of that our family did and put their best into it,” Thomson said. Her grandfather Elgin Thomson brought the Dairy Queen to Fort Frances when it was just starting as a walk up ice cream stand. Thomson said she remembers her grandfather as ‘the ultimate customer service guy.’ “He really loved what he did. He wore the original very clean uniform and he would have his little paper hat that he would wear,” Thomson said. “If anything, as we move on that’s the kind of passion that I want to have for that things that we continue to do and want to bring into this community as well.” Thomson said they will miss the community and seeing everyone on a regular basis, as well as their employees who have become like family over the years. “It’s always been an extension of our home,” Thomson said. “It was always a place that when we were kids I looked forward to stopping in and visiting my dad so that’s probably my fondest memory is just popping in and seeing him in his office, that is what I will always remember.” Thomson said they are happy with the new owner and they wish them all the success. Due to COVID-19, Patel said they are only able to have the drive through open but that it hasn’t slowed down business. Patel has been a previous business owner in Edmonton but this is his first Dairy Queen. He lived there for 10 years before moving to Fort Frances with his wife and toddler. Patel said Christine and Candice helped him a lot when he was first taking over and is very grateful for that. He also is grateful to the community for welcoming him and being so kind. “And in the future I will always be ready to help the community in any case that arises,” Patel said While his daughter is a little young to start helping around the business, Patel said she enjoys coming to the store and eating the french fries. Natali Trivuncic, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
LANGLEY, B.C. — Members of a Metro Vancouver homicide team are focused on a pockmarked car and casing-littered street as they investigate a suspected deadly attack in Langley, B.C.An online post from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team confirms its members have joined Langley RCMP officers probing what happened in a residential area of the municipality.A tent is set up over an idling Honda Civic with numerous holes in its windshield and the area beside the car is shrouded from view while dozens of evidence markers dot the street nearby.RCMP are also investigating at least one burning vehicle in an area about 12 kilometres away in South Surrey, but haven't said if it is linked to the scene in Langley.There have been several deadly shootings in Metro Vancouver over the last month, including one in Surrey targeting a 14-year-old boy.Officials with the homicide team have said the earlier murders were related to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict and more details about the overnight attack are expected later.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.With files from Global and CTV. The Canadian Press
Max and Katie relax in the pool with their new cowboy hats. Coolest dogs ever!
A Canadian clothing line is helping transgender kids feel confident at the beach or pool with bathing suits designed to maximize comfort without compromising style. Jamie and Ruby Alexander are the Toronto father-daughter duo behind Rubies, a fledgling fashion business that specializes in form-fitting clothing for trans and non-binary girls. Ruby says she's proud to see how the brand is allowing other trans kids to take part in the same activities as their friends without worrying about what they're wearing. "A lot of trans kids just stopped doing what they love to do, because they don't feel comfortable," Ruby, 12, said in an interview. "We wanted to change the kids' lives, and we're happy to do that." Since Ruby came out as transgender at nine years old, Jamie Alexander said fashion has been an important part of how she expresses her identity. But it hasn't always been easy to balance style against concerns for her safety. At first, Ruby wore baggy boardshorts and sweatpants to athletic activities such as swimming, gymnastics and dance, Alexander said. Eventually, Ruby wanted to wear a bikini like her friends, so they got her one at a department store. But as they were getting ready for a vacation in Central America in 2019, Alexander started to worry about what Ruby should wear to the beach in a place where there may not be the same cultural awareness of transgender identity. He looked online for a swimsuit that would allow her to safely have fun in the sun, but the limited options he could find didn't seem age-appropriate. Alexander knew that other families must be dealing with similar struggles, so he set out to launch a company that would offer a solution. He teamed up with Ryerson University's Fashion Zone to design prototypes for bathing suit bottoms that uses a soft compression to provide a worry-free fit. After getting in touch with other parents online, Alexander biked around Toronto to deliver samples, so transgender kids could try them on and give feedback. Some families said their kids hadn't had much exposure to other transgender children, Alexander said, and it soon became clear that Ruby had a gift for connecting with customers. "To say, 'hey, there's someone else out there just like you that understands you and understands what you're going through' is a really powerful thing," Alexander said. "It's really touching to hear the impact Ruby and I can have with these families." Alexander partnered with a Toronto clothing manufacturer to gear up for a launch last spring, but production was set back by the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Rubies has managed to sell roughly 1,000 swimsuits in its first year, Alexander said. Ruby writes a personal message to accompany every shipment, which for some customers seems to be just as valuable as the product itself, said Alexander. "We've gotten feedback that said some kids will put these postcards under their pillows, like it's this special treasure," he said. Alexander also launched a crowdfunding campaign so Rubies could donate swimsuits to families who many not be able to spend $57 on bikini bottoms. The brand has also expanded its offerings to include T-shirts, and recently started accepting preorders for a line of underwear. Alexander said Ruby has been involved in every step of getting the business off the ground, helping her father keep up with the latest trends on top of the usual demands of homework and chores. While it can be hard to juggle her duties as Grade 7 student and fashion maven, Ruby said it's worth it to see the impact that Rubies is having on kids like her across the globe. "There's other trans kids in the world who need help, and I'm happy to see them smile, and I'm proud to be the person who I am," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
APELDOORN, Netherlands — Jos Bieleveldt had a spring in his step when the 91-year-old Dutchman got a coronavirus vaccine this week. But many think that was way too long in coming. Almost two months before, Britain's Margaret Keenan, who is also 91 now, received her shot to kick off the U.K.'s vaccination campaign that has, so far, outstripped the efforts in many nations in the European Union. “We are dependent on what the European Commission says we can, and cannot, do. As a result, we are at the bottom of the list, it takes far too long," Bieleveldt said of the executive arm of the EU, which, perhaps unfairly, has taken the brunt of criticism for a slow rollout in many of its member states. Onerous regulations and paperwork in some countries and poor planning in others have also contributed to the delay, as did a more deliberate authorization process for the shots. Overall, the 27-nation EU, a collection of many of the richest countries in the world — most with a universal health care system to boot — is not faring well in comparison to countries like Israel and the United Kingdom. Even the United States, whose response to the pandemic has otherwise been widely criticized and where tens of thousands of appointments for shots have been cancelled because of vaccine shortages, appears to be moving faster. While Israel has given at least one shot of a two-dose vaccine to over 40% of its population and that figure in Britain is 10%, the EU total stands at just over 2%. And it is not just EU citizens who are laying the blame at the bloc's door. Criticism is also coming from many nations that had hoped to see some live-saving liquid from the EU trickle through their borders. Amid concerns that the richer nations had snapped up far more doses than they needed and poorer nations would be left to do without, the EU was expected to share vaccines around. The rocky rollout is also testing the bloc's long commitment to so-called soft power — policies that advance its cause not through the barrel of a gun but through peaceful means, like through the needle of a syringe. “Today it’s harder to get the vaccines than nuclear weapons,” said Serb President Aleksandar Vucic, who had been counting on a lot more help from the EU. Serbia sits at the heart of the Balkan region where the EU, Russia and even China are seeking a stronger foothold. Helping the Balkan countries with their vaccine rollout seemed an area where Europe, with its medical prowess and a willingness to prioritize such co-operation, would have an edge. Not so far. Vucic said weeks ago when he welcomed 1 million doses of Chinese vaccines that Serbia had not received “a single dose” from the global COVAX system aimed at get affordable shots to poor and middle-income countries that the EU has championed and funded. Instead, Vucic said Serbia secured vaccines through deals with individual countries or producers. Rubbing salt in the wound, Vucic went for the EU's social conscience when he said this week that “the world today is like Titanic. The rich tried to get the lifeboats only for themselves ... and leave the rest.” Other nations on the EU's southeastern rim have also been critical. It is a big turnaround from only a month ago when the EU's future looked pretty bright. It had just inked a last-minute trade deal with the United Kingdom, clinched a massive 1.8 trillion-euro pandemic recovery and overall budget deal and started rolling out its first COVID-19 vaccines. “This is a very good way to end this difficult year, and to finally start turning the page on COVID-19,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the time. By this past weekend, though, her attitude soured as it became clear that the bloc would be getting vaccines at a slower rate than agreed upon for its 450 million people. AstraZeneca has told the EU that of its initial batch of 80 million, only 31 million would immediately materialize once its vaccine got approved, likely on Friday. That came on the heels of a smaller glitch in the deliveries of Pfizer-BioNTech shots. Both companies say they are facing operational issues at plants that are temporarily delaying the rollout. Italy is threatening to take legal action against both over the delay. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte had been boasting that the country’s rollout was a huge success, especially when the millionth dose was given on Jan. 15. But after Pfizer announced the temporary supply reduction, Italy slowed from administering about 80,000 doses a day to fewer than 30,000. Bulgaria has also criticized the drug companies, and some there have called for the government to turn to Russia and China for vaccines. Hungary is already doing so. “If vaccines aren’t coming from Brussels, we must obtain them from elsewhere. One cannot allow Hungarians to die simply because Brussels is too slow in procuring vaccines,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” But supply isn't the only thing holding up the EU's campaign. The problem is partially that the EU Commission bet on the wrong horse — and didn't get enough doses of the early success vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech. The commission notes there was no way of knowing which vaccines would succeed — and which would be first — and so it had to spread its orders out over several companies. The EU rollout was also slowed because the European Medicines Agency took more time than the U.S. or U.K. regulators to authorize its first vaccine. That was by design as it made sure that the member nations could not be held liable in case of problems and in order to give people more confidence that the shot was safe. But individual countries also share in the blame. Germany, Europe's cliche of an organized and orderly nation, was found sorely wanting, with its rollout marred by chaotic bureaucracy and technological failures, such as those seen Monday when thousands of people over 80 in the country’s biggest state were told they would have to wait until Feb. 8 to get their first shots, even as vast vaccine centres set up before Christmas languished empty. “The speed of our action leaves a lot to be desired,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “Processes have often become very bureaucratic and take a long time, so we have to work on that.” It is no different in France, where there is a Kafkaesque maze of rules to get consent for vaccinating the elderly. In the Netherlands, which banked on the easy-to-handle AstraZeneca vaccine being the first available, authorities had to scramble to make new plans for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, whose ultracold storage requirements make it more complicated. “We were proven to be insufficiently flexible to make the change," said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. The Dutch have been particularly criticized since they were the last in the EU to begin vaccinations, more than a week after the first shots were given in the bloc, and they have been especially slow to roll doses out to elderly people living at home, like Bieleveldt, a retiree. “I’m already playing in injury time in terms of my age," he said. "But I still want to play for a few more years.” ___ Casert reported from Brussels. AP journalists across the European Union contributed. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine. Raf Casert And Mike Corder, The Associated Press
DETROIT — One of six men charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy, admitting that the group discussed an incredible scheme to snatch her at her lakeside vacation home and destroy a bridge to slow down police. Ty Garbin’s guilty plea is a major catch for prosecutors, only about four months after arrests were made. His testimony would strengthen the government’s case against the others and back up evidence collected by informants and undercover agents. Garbin appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids a few hours after prosecutors filed a plea agreement that is loaded with details about the operation and his pledge to fully co-operate with investigators. There is no agreement on his sentencing. The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, by anti-government extremists upset over the coronavirus restrictions she imposed in Michigan. Six people were charged in federal court while eight others were charged in state court with aiding the alleged scheme. In the plea agreement, Garbin, 25, of Hartland, admitted to more than six pages of stunning allegations. He said he and others trained with weapons in Munith, Michigan, and Cambria, Wisconsin, last summer and “discussed the plan to storm the Capitol and kidnap the governor.” The plot, he said, eventually switched to Whitmer's second home in Antrim County. Garbin said he “advocated waiting until after the national election, when the conspirators expected widespread civil unrest to make it easier for them to operate.” In September, the six men trained at Garbin's property near Luther, Michigan, constructing a “shoot house” to resemble Whitmer's vacation home and “assaulting it with firearms,” the plea deal states. The men also made trips to Antrim County to surveil the home and the area, Garbin said. Garbin said he sent a text message to someone who turned out to be a government informant, indicating that “if the bridge goes down it will stop the wave,” a suggestion that police would be delayed in responding to a kidnapping if a nearby bridge was blown up. He said he also offered to paint his boat black for another night of surveillance. Last fall, defence attorney Mark Satawa said Garbin had no intention to carry out a kidnapping, no matter what he might have said in recorded or online conversations. A “big talk” defence emerged as a strategy. “Saying things like, ‘I hate the governor, the governor is tyrannical’ ... is not illegal, even if you’re holding a gun and running around the woods when you do it,” Satawa said in October. The other defendants are Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta. A trial has been scheduled for March 23. ___ Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez Ed White, The Associated Press
Mount Pearl city council has chosen a new chief administrative officer, seven months after the acrimonious departure of her predecessor and the dismissal of two councillors following longtime internal drama at city hall. Dana Spurrell will take the reins of the city on Feb. 10. According to a press release from the city Tuesday afternoon, she has 25 years of public service experience and most recently served as assistant deputy minister of immigration, workforce development and labour with the provincial government. Council formalized her appointment to the job of CAO in a unanimous vote Tuesday evening. "With an extensive portfolio of experience, and strong background in people management and labour relations, she brings an empowered leadership approach based on mutual respect that makes us confident that she will lead our staff and city forward, into the future," Mayor Dave Aker said in the statement. Spurrell said she is excited to lead the organization. "I look forward to working with council, and most importantly the staff in Mount Pearl, as we focus on the city's future," Spurrell said in the press release. Steve Kent departed post last summer Her predecessor, Steve Kent, was suspended from the top civil service job in Mount Pearl in October 2019, after council called in an outside investigator to probe his workplace interactions with city staff. He remained on leave until June, when he departed the post before council could vote to fire him, then sued for wrongful dismissal and breach of privacy. A few days later, Mount Pearl city council voted to dismiss two councillors, Andrea Power and Andrew Ledwell, over allegations they had a conflict of interest they failed to declare in the harassment investigation involving Kent. The deputy mayor accused them of "colluding" with Kent to find ways to influence other councillors. The dismissed duo have maintained their innocence, and have also filed legal action. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
EDMONTON — Discount carrier Flair Airlines says it will add 13 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft to its fleet. The Edmonton-based airline will lease the planes from one of its investors, 777 Partners, which owns 25 per cent of Flair. Stephen Jones, Flair's president and chief executive officer, says the addition of the planes will allow the airline to keep fares low while expanding its capacity. Flair's announcement of its expansion comes as Canadian airlines cut dozens of routes and lay off staff in response to more severe lockdown restrictions. The Max was grounded in Canadian airspace for nearly two years beginning in March 2019, after two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Transport Canada lifted the grounding order on Jan. 20 after approving a set of changes to the aircraft's design and requiring pilots to undergo additional training. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Pembroke – With no COVID-19 outbreaks currently in Renfrew County, only two people currently diagnosed with the virus and vaccines beginning to be administered in long-term care homes, these positive signs are tempered by news of the second death from the virus. A release from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) confirmed last week a second individual had died from the virus. In an interview with the Leaderearlier in the week, Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Cushman had confirmed an individual was in hospital in Ottawa following the diagnosis and did have significant comorbidities. Vaccines are also beginning to be administered, with the first clinic for residents at Valley Manor in Barry’s Bay. The health unit is working with long-term care homes to provide the vaccinations during the next two weeks in accordance with the provincial government announcement each long-term care, high-risk retirement home and First Nations elder care home resident in the province would receive first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by February 5. A reduced shipment of vaccines to the province has meant staff and essential caregivers will be vaccinated at a later date, as supply stabilizes. “We are asking residents to be patient during this time,” Dr. Cushman said. “We will release more information on timelines and vaccine roll out as it becomes available. It is our firm hope that keeping our case numbers low and rolling out the vaccines will put this behind us. Remember, we need to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19.” On Tuesday, the health unit reported two people in self-isolation with confirmed cases of COVID. There have been 297 people who have tested positive for the virus and 293 who have recovered. No new cases were diagnosed on Tuesday. However, this week also marked the beginning of a return to back-to-schools in the county. Following a break of over a month, students in elementary and secondary schools returned to in-person instruction on Monday morning. They had previously been doing online learning since the province announced a decision to close all schools in the province to in-person learning. Schools in Renfrew County were one of only seven districts in the province which saw a resumption of in-person learning. Looking at COVID numbers in the district covered by the RCDHU, the numbers are much more encouraging than early January projections. In December there were over 90 confirmed cases of COVID, the highest number of any month since the pandemic statistics were first recorded in March 2020. The health unit is reporting 61 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in January, with a week remaining. “After the holidays, we saw a rise in cases related to gatherings and lack of adherence to public health measures,” Dr. Cushman noted. “Since then, cases in Renfrew County and district have remained relatively low, and we aim to keep trending downward.” Renfrew County has seen 21 outbreaks since the pandemic began and although 49 health care workers have been diagnosed with COVID, only three residents of long-term-care homes/retirement homes have been diagnosed with the virus. This is in stark contrast with other areas of the province and the dominion where many long-term-care homes/retirement homes have seen horrific outbreaks. The county has recorded 25 positive cases of COVID within the school setting since the pandemic began. Of these 10 were among staff members and 15 among students. With the resumption of school holding in-person class, Dr. Cushman is reminding area residents to not let their guard down. Provincially, numbers are also on a downward trend with 1,740 cases reported on Tuesday, the lowest daily number since mid-December. COVID testing continues in the county. Testing is done by appointment and anyone needing a test must call RCVTAC at 1-844-727-6404 to schedule a testing time. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
When Alan Sallows thinks about hunting, these words come to mind: bonding, memories and tradition. “[I like] getting out in the outdoors, spending time with my grandfather, enjoying the harvest we can take at that time,” he said. Sallows has been a hunter for over 25 years. It’s a pastime his grandfather passed down to him while he was growing up in Waubaushene. Now, a resident of Georgian Bay, Sallows has shared the practice with his teenage daughter, Annie. “She’s been coming with me since she was five years old,” he said. Sallows and his daughter hunt ducks and deer starting in the fall, using either shotguns or rifles. He takes a week off from work to hunt — if he’s able to — or he hunts on Saturdays. However, being able to hunt on Sundays would be ideal, he said. “[It’s] just to give the working force an opportunity for a day out to spend with their family and keep the tradition of hunting going.” He said the hunters he knows would be in favour of it too, in spite of the opinion of some local seasonal cottagers, who, according to Sallows, look down on hunting. “I’m not saying all seasonal people, but a few seasonal people can make it not-so-welcoming for Sunday hunting,” he said. The township is reigniting discussions about Sunday hunting rules. At council’s next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters will deliver a presentation arguing in favour of opening up the township’s rules. Councillor Cynthia Douglas said she and other councillors received emails in mid-December from people asking if the township would discuss introducing a bylaw to permit Sunday hunting with a firearm. Douglas said she’s not sure how accurate the information provided in the emails is and wants to hear more feedback from people on all sides of the issue, including from the federation. “I think this is an important issue,” she said. Provincial regulations prohibit Sunday gun hunting unless a municipality chooses to allow it. As of Sept. 1, according to the Government of Ontario website, Georgian Bay, made up primarily of Crown land, is the only township in the District of Muskoka prohibiting Sunday gun hunting. In 2014, Georgian Bay council held a discussion about permitting Sunday gun hunting. Douglas was on that council for the last term. “I think we heard from a lot of people in public that were for and against,” she said. Council, in the end, voted against endorsing the activity in a “very close” vote, Douglas said. The topic came up at council’s first meeting of 2021 on Monday, Jan. 11. Councillors, like Douglas, shared their perspectives on Sunday hunting and the next steps the township could take, including consulting with the Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers Inc. “It’s not a simple black-and-white question,” said Mayor Peter Koetsier. The Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers Inc. did not return a request for an interview in time for publication. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters did not respond to a request for comment. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
SOUTH DUNDAS – Annual provincial funding for municipal infrastructure through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund remains unchanged for 2021. The annual funding allocations were released by the province on January 25th. The Municipality of South Dundas leads all other lower-tier municipalities in SDG Counties and will receive $418,782. Use of this year’s allocation will be determined by council during its budget deliberations in early-February. In past years, OCIF funding has been allocated to the municipal capital roads program. “The municipality is pleased to once again be receiving the OCIF funding that will contribute to the betterment of South Dundas,” said communications coordinator Kalynn Sawyer Helmer. “We appreciate the allocation and recognize the impact as it provides stability in our budget for eligible capital projects.” Around the county, North Dundas will receive $274,880; North Stormont $119,449; South Stormont $314,843; North Glengarry $204,790; and South Glengarry $333,052. SDG Counties will receive $965,532, and the City of Cornwall will receive $1,082,340. Cornwall will also receive $682,276 in provincial gas tax funding that is specifically for transit spending. Outside of the United Counties, neighbouring Edwardsburgh-Cardinal will receive $191,495 in 2021. OCIF funding is calculated based on the amount of core infrastructure owned by a municipality such as roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems, and municipal economic conditions. The infrastructure is indexed against property assessment and household average income. Municipalities with a higher index receive more grant money. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
The founder of a well-known Regina food program has died. Theresa Stevenson founded Chili For Children in 1985. "She found out that students in the city core were going to school without eating," read her obituary. "As a young woman, Mom felt hunger and never forgot the pain." Chili for Children has fed thousands of children in the city. "She will be missed by the many people who loved her dearly and by the thousands of lives she touched with her charity work and selflessness," said Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations vice-chief Dutch Lerat in a news release. "She leaves behind a legacy that has left our world a better place." According to her obituary, Stevenson was born on the Cowessess First Nation in 1926. At six years old, she was taken from her home and placed in the Marieval Residential School until the age of 15. In 1978, she founded Regina Indian Community Awareness and helped families with clothing, housing and other services. Stevenson was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1994, received the National Aboriginal Award for Community Development in 1999 and also received an honourary doctoral degree from the University of Regina. She died on Monday in the Centennial Lodge Care Home in Broadview. An online celebration of life will be livestreamed on Saturday.
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter TEMAGAMI – The owners of the Our Daily Bread grocery store in Temagami recently gave the municipality a boost - literally. Dirk and Joanne Van Manen have installed Temagami’s first electric vehicle charging station, eCAMION Inc’s Jule Energy charging station, beside their business and it has been up and running since December 11. “About three years ago, a company called eCAMION was looking to install charging stations all along the Trans-Canada Highway. They checked out our area and contacted a few possibilities, us being one of them, about having the station set-up here,” explained Joanne Van Manen in a telephone interview. “The two other people that they contacted, it wasn’t feasible for them for whatever reason. So they started working with us.” eCAMION Inc is a Toronto-based company that is a technology provider for flexible battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and energy management solutions. The charging stations the company provides are free to use and can support both CHAdeMO and CCS ports (the two types of plugs an electric vehicle can have) and can charge up to three vehicles simultaneously. “We decided to install charging at Temagami as part of our effort to provide fast-charging infrastructure to underserved parts of Ontario,” said Alice Wang, product marketing manger for eCAMION Inc, in an email interview. “This deployment will make it easier for EV drivers to travel along the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 11, whether for work or leisure.” Wang noted that the Jules Energy stations charge at a Level 3 speed level (50 kilowatts), meaning it can fully charge a typical EV battery in under 45 minutes. “How long a vehicle runs on a charge depends on weather conditions, driving speed and most of all battery size,” she explained. “As an average, 350 kilometres is about how far a vehicle can travel on a full battery.” While she felt that there could be a need within Temagami for an EV charging station, Van Manen said having the Jule Energy station installed was aimed more at those travelling through the area. “My sister has an electric car, too, so she would use it,” she said. “There’s no one in this area that I’m aware of that has an electric car, so it’s more for travellers.” Dirk Van Manen noted that they knew of a man who travelled from Toronto to Kapuskasing on a monthly basis and does so with an electric car. “So he was asking questions about our charging station, just a week or so ago. He’s probably going to stop in and try to use it,” he said. “We’re probably ahead of schedule, you might say, for the electric cars but I think that the economy is speeding up quite quickly, that there will be more around soon, in a few years.” Joanne Van Manen said that she and Dirk, who also own Docks Plus Temagami, aren’t able to keep track of how often the station has been used. But she said the reception so far from the community has been positive. “All we do is keep it clear (of snow) around there,” she said of the charging station. “I put the news of installing the charging station on our Facebook page, for Our Daily Bread, and I’ve reached 5,194 people with it. The comments have been very, very positive.” Dirk Van Manen conceded that the charging station likely wouldn’t be in high demand over the winter, but he was optimistic it would be used more in the warmer months. “I’m sure in the summer we’ll see vehicles parked there,” he said. Wang added that there are great benefits with Temagami having the charging station, one being that it is able to include the promotion of electric vehicles being accessible and viable choices in such a relatively remote neighbourhood. “Also, we hope that the availability of charging in Temagami will mean that Temagami receives more visitors who stop by while they’re on the highway,” she said. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
Confirmation of a COVID-19 variant in the community has Simcoe-Muskoka's medical officer of health calling for additional testing of positive cases to identify fast-spreading mutations. “The system, I believe, needs to be developed to be more robust so that there’s a higher proportion of testing happening,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, referring to the two-part test for newer variants of the virus. “The ideal would be to test every sample.” Gardner has previously described Barrie as being "ground zero" for the COVID variant as a result of the spread at Roberta Place, the first long-term care home in Canada known to have the variant. Forty-six residents have died at Roberta Place during the outbreak, which was declared Jan. 8 by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. An essential caregiver associated with the Essa Road facility has also succumbed to the virus, bringing the overall death toll to 47 people linked to Roberta Place. The facility has also seen 127 positive cases among residents — which is all but two people residing there. Additionally, there have been 82 positive tests among staff/team members, three external partners and three essential caregivers. On Saturday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the presence of the highly contagious UK variant, known as B.1.1.7, inside the Roberta Place long-term care home. On Tuesday, health officials confirmed an additional 97 cases of a variant have been linked to Roberta Place. Gardner has said he's "fully convinced" all of the Roberta Place cases are the UK variant and another strain is not at work inside the long-term care home. But another two cases of a variant outside of the Barrie facility have been identified. One involves an employee at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene, which is in outbreak, while the other case remains under investigation. The two-part test first looks for the mutation of a variant of concern. Genetic sequencing of the resulting positive cases then identifies the type of variant. The province also conducted a point-prevalence study of all of the COVID-19 positive samples from Jan. 20, Gardner explained during Tuesday's media briefing. The first part of that testing identified a variant existed in 99 Simcoe-Muskoka cases. Testing for a variant can be requested where there is a travel history or contact with someone who has travelled or a severe and rapidly progressing outbreak. “If it’s transmitting freely in the community, unlinked to any of that, there’s a potential to miss all of that without other indicators for testing or more frequent testing happening,” Gardner said. Until recently, testing for that variant in Ontario was only done in special circumstances. So by Friday, only 31 cases had been identified in Canada. Gardner said it will be very difficult to prevent the spread of the COVID variant in the community, emphasizing the importance of prevention and following stay-at-home orders. He also warned against visiting others in their home and vice versa. “It’s really important right now with this new variant on the cusp of spreading into our community,” he said. “The potential for it to spread here is immediate.” The UK B.1.1.7 variant is one of thousands identified worldwide. It was first found in London, England in September and has since been identified in several countries. In December, a Whitby couple was diagnosed with Ontario’s first two cases. It was later determined they had been in close contact with someone who had been in the UK, despite their earlier denials. They were subsequently charged under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and accused of misleading contact tracers. It is believed to be between 50 and 70 per cent more contagious than other coronavirus variants. Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
La députée de Duplessis, Lorraine Richard, se voit confier les dossiers liés aux aînés, aux proches aidants et au maintien à domicile. Le chef du Parti québécois, Paul St-Pierre-Plamondon, a procédé à une redistribution des rôles à l’intérieur de son cabinet fantôme à la suite de l’expulsion d’Harold Lebel. Le député de Rimouski a été exclus du caucus le 15 décembre après avoir été accusé d’agression sexuelle. Notons que lors du remaniement, la députée de Joliette, Véronique Hivon, est devenue cheffe du caucus et whip de la formation politique, tandis que son collègue Joël Arseneau, responsable des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, a ajouté le dossier de l’itinérance à sa charge de porte-parole du parti en matière de santé.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
PARIS — Vandals painted graffiti on France’s Holocaust Memorial ahead of international commemorations of the Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews. The Israeli Embassy in France tweeted a photo of the pro-Uighur graffiti scrawled on a wall etched with the names of tens of thousands of French victims of the Holocaust. The embassy expressed “horror and anger” at the vandalism “on such a symbolic day.” Paris police said the graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning, as ceremonies were being held or planned around the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp on Jan. 27, 1945. The graffiti was quickly cleaned off. While France sees persistent but scattered anti-Semitic vandalism or violence, the graffiti found Wednesday was not explicitly anti-Jewish. It included the message “Uighur Lives Matter” and appeared aimed at calling attention to China's treatment of mostly Muslim Uighurs. The Chinese government has detained an estimated 1 million or more members of ethnic Turkic minority groups in Xinjiang, holding them in internment camps and prisons where they are subjected to ideological discipline, forced to denounce their religion and language and physically abused. China has long suspected the Uighurs of harbouring separatist tendencies. The Associated Press