(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
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 began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. 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 The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- 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 on 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. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- 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. --- 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. --- 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 also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- 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 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" is making Canadian history on Spotify. The Toronto-raised singer's hit single has become the first song by a Canadian artist to pass two billion plays on the streaming platform. And he's only the fourth artist in the world to join this elite group of massively popular songs. Ahead of him is "Dance Monkey" by Australia's Tones and I (2.1 billion streams), "Rockstar" by American Post Malone (2.12 billion) and the leader "Shape of You" from English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran (2.7 billion). A couple of other Canadians could also reach two billion streams with one of their songs later this year. Drake's "One Dance" is teetering around the mark with 1.98 billion streams, which ranks him one spot behind the Weeknd as the No. 5 most-streamed song. Shawn Mendes' "Senorita" is at No. 9 with 1.7 billion plays. The Weeknd's streaming numbers were helped by his performance at the Super Bowl, which gave his entire catalogue of albums a boost. But it's fellow Torontonian Drake who holds the biggest streaming crown on Spotify. He earned the platform's most-streamed artist of the decade honour at the end of 2019. Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
As concerns about internationally identified COVID-19 variants hit closer to home, public health authorities are asking — and increasingly, ordering — people to isolate safely, away from others in their household. Here are some examples of how hotels and quarantine facilities are being used to keep the virus from spreading through communities. TRAVELLERS WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS As the federal government rolls out new restrictions to prevent contagious mutations of the COVID-19 virus from crossing the border, more travellers are set to be sent to hotels and other facilities to serve at least part of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Under the new rules, which will take effect on Feb. 22, returning travellers will have to take a COVID-19 test at the airport at their own expense. They're then required to spend the first three days of their quarantine at a supervised hotel while awaiting their results, and foot the bill for their stay, expected to cost upwards of $2,000. Hotel booking information will be available online as of Feb.18. Those with negative results can serve the remainder of their two-week quarantine at home, while those with positive tests will be sent to government designated facilities. Those arriving via the land border will also be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival, and then another COVID-19 test at the end of their quarantine. Land border arrivals do not have to stay in a hotel as part of their mandatory two-week quarantine. Earlier this week, the federal government outlined some of the application requirements for privately owned hotels looking to be part of the three-night stay program. The hotels must be within 10 kilometres of one of the four international airports currently accepting flights from abroad in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Hotels will be responsible for providing three nights of lodging in keeping with public health requirements. That includes safely shuttling guests to their accommodations; offering contactless meal delivery to rooms; access to phones and internet; and reporting traveller information to authorities, such as check-in and check-out. Safety protocols include measures to monitor movement within the hotel and ensure compliance with isolation requirements. Travellers must be sequestered from regular clients, and the hotel must have process to allow "essential and short outside time," such as smoke breaks. FEDERALLY DESIGNATED FACILITIES FOR TRAVELLERS IN QUARANTINE Since the outbreak took hold in Canada, Ottawa has been putting up travellers in hotels and other lodging sites as a "last resort" for those without a suitable place to self-isolate, said a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada. Tammy Jarbeau said in an email that the agency currently operates 11 designated quarantine facilities in nine cities across Canada, with access to two provincially run sites. These sites had lodged 5,030 travellers, as of Jan. 24, said Jarbeau. She said the cost of the program wasn't readily available. As of last Thursday, all international passenger flights must land at one of four airports — Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary or Montreal. Jarbeau said the government designates or cancels quarantine sites as needed, but declined to disclose their locations to "protect the privacy and safety of travellers." ISOLATION SITES FOR NORTHERN TRAVELLERS Two of the northern territories have long required travellers to make a public-health pit stop before entry. To fly back to Nunavut, residents must first spend two weeks at health isolation sites in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife before they can be cleared to return to their home community. The territory covers costs such as a hotel room, meals and internet access, but travellers are responsible for any additional flight expenses. Travellers headed to Northwest Territories must self-isolate in one of four communities: Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River or Fort Smith. Those who don't have a place to quarantine are sent to isolation centres. Last month, the territory said it would no longer pay to put up residents travelling for recreational reasons. Non-residents still have to cover their own accommodations. VOLUNTARY ISOLATION SITES A growing number of jurisdictions are setting up voluntary COVID-19 isolation sites to help people recover from the virus without putting other members of their household at risk. Public health officials say many Canadians can't safely self-isolate at home because of crowded housing conditions, contributing to the disproportionate spread of infections in low-income neighbourhoods. The centres offer people a free, safe place to self-isolate as well as other services such as meals, security, transportation, income support and links to health care. The federal government has committed roughly $29 million to support municipally run isolation sites in Toronto, Ottawa and the regions of Peel and Waterloo. The Ontario government is also spending $42 million to create and expand centres in locations across the province, adding up to1,525 more beds in coming weeks. Joe Cressy, chair of the Toronto Board of Health, said people may be referred to the city's self-isolation sites by COVID-19 case managers and community outreach workers, but individuals can access the facilities on their own accord. Cressy said the city also runs a COVID-19 isolation site out of a hotel where people who are experiencing homelessness can stay while they're sick. He noted that this recovery program is distinct from the hotels that are being used as temporary homeless shelters to support physical distancing. ISOLATION HOTEL INCENTIVES In Alberta, people who need to self-isolate because of COVID-19 concerns can not only stay in a hotel room free of charge, but may qualify for a $625 relief payment upon check-out. Earlier this week, the province expanded a temporary financial aid program intended to incentivize Albertans to self-isolate in a hotel if they can't safely do so at home. Since December, residents of hard-hit neighbourhoods in Edmonton and Calgary have been eligible for a $625 government payment at the end of their stay. Now, the aid is open to all Albertans who have been referred by a provincial health authority. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
Les personnes de 70 ans et plus, qui résident dans les MRC de Sept-Rivières, de Manicouagan et de la Haute-Côte-Nord, sont invitées à s’inscrire dès aujourd’hui, à compter de midi, aux prochaines cliniques de vaccination contre la COVID-19. La vaccination débutera la semaine prochaine. Pour ce qui est du bilan, aucun nouveau cas s’ajoute depuis le 26 février, avec quatre cas actifs. Il est possible de prendre rendez-vous par Internet sur la page Québec.ca/vaccinCOVID . Les gens n’ayant pas accès au réseau, ou qui éprouvent des difficultés à l’utiliser, peuvent composer le 1 877 644-4545 pour recevoir de l’aide. Il est également encouragé d’offrir un soutien aux aînés de votre entourage, pour la prise de rendez-vous en ligne, qui est obligatoire et seulement pour la première dose. Les gens ayant déjà reçu une dose seront contactés prochainement par le CISSS de la Côte-Nord, pour planifier leur deuxième rendez-vous. Plus de 17 600 doses des vaccins contre la COVID-19 ont été administrées dans la région jusqu’à maintenant. Voici le bilan en premier jour de mars: Situation sur la Côte-Nord*En date du 1er mars 2021 – 11 hNotez que les bilans régionaux de la Côte-Nord sont publiés du lundi au vendredi. La fin de semaine et lors des jours fériés, nous vous invitons à consulter le bilan national au Québec.ca/coronavirus ou sur le site de l’INSPQ. Le bilan régional sera mis à jour le lundi suivant. Nombre de cas confirmés : 354 Répartition par MRC : Basse-Côte-Nord : 6 Caniapiscau : 8 Haute-Côte-Nord : 26 Manicouagan : 106 Minganie : 17 Sept-Rivières : 191 Cas guéris : 347 (+1) Décès : 3 Cas actifs : 4 (-1) Cas actifs provenant d’une autre région : 0 Hospitalisation en cours : 0 Éclosions en cours :Milieu scolaire (Sept-Rivières) : Moins de 5 Éclosions terminées récemment :Milieu de travail (Caniapiscau) Milieu scolaire (Sept-Rivières) Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
TORONTO — A few days before the Strumbellas were set to embark on a Canadian concert tour in January 2020, they dropped a bombshell announcement: the entire 14-city run of shows was being postponed as one of the band's own sought treatment for an unspecified illness. The news rocked their fanbase, but lead singer Simon Ward said the decision to cancel came during a crucial time. He was the unnamed member spiralling into a mental health crisis. Over a year later, he’s still digging himself out of it. "I'll be honest with you, it's been the worst year of my life," Ward explained in an interview from his home. "And every day I'm just here, trying to heal and get better." On Friday, the Strumbellas will release "Greatest Enemy," a new single that marks their first effort since Ward faced crippling depression and anxiety. He began writing the song before the six-member band sidelined their touring plans, and the band finished it during a recording session last November. Thematically, "Greatest Enemy" reflects on the overwhelming demons of the mind, but in true Strumbellas fashion, the words are paired with a soaring chorus of perseverance. It’s a formula that did wonders for the band in 2015 when "Spirits" elevated them from a ragtag group of Ontario indie musicians to a Top 40 success story, driven by an unforgettable chorus: "I got guns in my head and they won’t go. Spirits in my head and they won’t go." But the struggles hinted at in "Spirits" became all the more real for Ward as the Strumbellas embarked on a 2019 European tour for their followup album “Rattlesnake." Looking back, Ward says there were signs something was amiss. Sometimes it was as simple as him deciding to hide away in his hotel room when the rest of the group went to dinner together, he said. "It's so easy to isolate yourself when you're having mental health issues," he added. "All you want to do is… not be with other people. So I would stay by myself." But it was after the European leg of the tour wrapped and he returned to Canada that Ward started to realize something more serious was happening. "I started to feel so weird, like total lethargy," he said. "I couldn't get out of bed, dark thoughts, negative thoughts. Thoughts that were really mean to myself. I knew something wasn't right." Ward’s family paid him a visit, and he says that’s when he broke down, confessing to them that he was not doing well. He decided to check himself into a local hospital to seek professional help, receive a mental health assessment and discuss medications. "This has just been a full-on mental health year for me," he said. "(I’m) still in it, still working my way through it and struggling. I'm better now. But, you know, mental health is just such a tricky game. It seems to hang around, come back and float around." Getting the Strumbellas back on their feet will take some time. The band has worked on the early stages of new material in recent months, said guitarist Jon Hembrey. But a near-total shutdown of the concert industry during the COVID-19 pandemic has eased the pressure of getting back on the road. "I wouldn't bet any money on whether there will be shows in the summer," Hembrey said. "It's just too hard to tell." That's left room for the Strumbellas to interact with their fans in creative ways. Last year, they hopped on TikTok for the first time, creating a venue to answer questions about music, and recently for Ward to lend positive encouragement to others dealing with mental health hurdles. “A lot of people are in tough spots right now," he said, reflecting on how the live music industry has ground to a halt. "But everybody's going through it, so honestly make the best of it. We're just trying to make new music, get back in the groove of things and hang out again and see where it goes.” Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
With offices closed during the pandemic and many kids kept out of the classroom, families have scrambled to carve out functional remote-learning spaces in homes that weren’t designed for the job. Faced with space constraints, acoustic challenges, and shortages of office furniture, even architects — experts in conceptualizing interior spaces with time and budget constraints — are struggling to keep up with the demands that school closures are putting on their small, open-concept homes.With flexible use of materials, strategic re-arranging, shared workspaces, multi-use surfaces, and purpose-built structures, five Toronto architects show us how they carved out space for their children to feel comfortable, productive, and even inspired as they continue to learn online:FLEXIBLE FURNISHINGWho: Kevin Bridgman, KPMB Architects, with Elke, 7Kevin Bridgman has been working at home since his office closed in March. To accommodate Elke being at home as well, he created two separate work-stations for her — one for school and one for breaks — by substituting Ikea Lisabo coffee tables for desks, which were sold out across the city. He wanted an adaptable longer-term solution — the tables, which are the perfect height to be a child’s desk now, are small, portable, and flexible enough to serve different purposes in the house when Elke no longer needs them. "The space behind me formed because Elke’s been wanting to sit with me and work when her classes are done," says Bridgman. "It used to be a nook for an electric piano, but we reconfigured the dining room and it’s become a LEGO station. Now a lot of days we sit back-to-back, so when I’m on my zoom calls or sketching at the dining room table, she’s behind me in her LEGO world." CUSTOM-BUILT SPACEWho: Lola Sheppard and Mason White, Lateral Office, with Lucas 15, and Zoe 12Lola Sheppard and Mason White added extra space to their small, open concept home with a custom designed garden studio by MacroSPACE. The fully insulated, four-season module, which arrives in pre-fabricated panels to be assembled on site, works as a study space, den, and music room, and gives teenagers a place to hang out, slightly apart from the house. The components of the $39,000 structure take about six to eight weeks to be made in a local workshop and, at under 100 square-foot, the finished structure does not require a permit. “It’s only 50 feet away, but we have to leave the house to walk to it which is really nice,” says Sheppard. RE-ARRANGING MAGICWho: Megan Cassidy, Nakamura Cassidy Design Architects, and Haji Nakamura, SVN, with Miro, 9Megan Cassidy and Haji Nakamura co-parent and share an office on the second floor. To keep up with the evolving demands of the pandemic, they have done some re-arranging magic, moving and re-purposing existing furniture to create completely different spaces. In spring, their sun-drenched dining area was first cleared out for a yoga studio, then it was converted back to a dining room. Now, it's been adapted again to a hybrid working space for Miro and family reading nook, created by rotating the dining table (where the family still eats all their meals and read in the morning sun) 45 degrees, opening up space to bring in an Eames lounger from the living room for the new lounge area."With three people working in the house, we have to make every space work really, really hard," says Cassidy.CREATING COMFORTYusef Frasier, Supergraphiq, and Kristy Almond Frasier, Almond Frasier Architect, with Naomie, 7, and Marcus, 4 With both parents already working in their compact townhome, each had to make room in their existing workspaces to accommodate one of their children. Frasier, an architectural renderer and visualization expert, shares his double-wide workstation (which is large enough to accommodate four monitors for his visually intensive work) made with two side by side CB2 Go-Cart rolling desks and TPS file cabinets. The extra wide desk makes room for Naomie to take over one of the workstations and for Marcus to join them when Almond Frasier is busy with calls downstairs. After pleading that having two screens like Dad would make her more efficient at school, Naomie recently hooked up a second monitor — one for zoom and one for work— and is slowly setting up a customized space for herself with strategically placed items on her desk and a tailored background for her zoom calls."You’re trying to create some level of comfort within an entirely new and abstract setup and each individual is finding their own way to do that," says Yusef Frasier. "Every few days Naomie draws a piece of artwork to put on this ‘wall of happiness’ that we have beside my desk. Her plan is to wrap that around the whole space like a mural." TEMPORARY FIXESAndrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba, Batay-Csorba Architects, with Kingsley, 7 and spaniel Duke Andrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba live with their son Kingsley on the second and third floor above their street-level storefront office. The couple is in the process of building a custom designed plywood platform bed for Kingsley’s room that will incorporate his bed, desk, and climbing wall, above an Ikea dresser and kitchen cabinets for storage. But for now, with the rest of Batay-Csorba’s staff working remotely, Kingsley is able to join his parents downstairs at the big studio table. In place of traditional, compartmentalized workstations, a large, shared table is a fixture of most design practices so adding Kinsgley (and even spaniel, Duke) to the table is a natural solution."Our renovated storefront is east facing with a floor-to-ceiling window so we try to work and have meetings there as much as possible because of the great light," says Andrew Batay-Csorba. "Kingsley is there with us for now trying to do everything but focus on school." — Emily Waugh is a writer and educator in Landscape Architecture and is currently completing the Certificate in Health Impact at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Emily Waugh, The Canadian Press
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit) Jean Holden Szymucha arrived only 30 minutes before her vaccination appointment on Monday, but the 91-year-old ended up waiting for her shot much longer than she expected. She summed her feelings up in one word, clearly heard over the roaring chatter of the crowd behind her in Montreal's Olympic Stadium: "Ridiculous!" Szymucha, using a wheelchair to get around, waited two and a half hours because, she said, there were "too many people at once." She was even reconsidering getting a second shot, but health officials insist that such hiccups were to be expected on the first day as about 15 vaccination sites opened across the city. "We are in constant improvement of the process," said Julie Provencher, director of youth and public health services at CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal. The agency sent out a statement Monday, reminding people to show up on time to avoid the wait. Some were showing up 90 minutes early. Once the kinks are worked out of the system, up to 3,000 people per day will be vaccinated at the stadium. WATCH | Here's what it was like at the Olympic Stadium Monday: Online and phone registration began last week for those in Montreal aged 85 and older to book appointments to get their vaccines. Now, all of Quebec's regions are booking appointments for people over 85. And in Montreal and Laval — areas deemed by the province as a priority for vaccinations — the minimum age to be eligible for an appointment has been lowered to 70. Palais des congrès deals with early birds At the Palais des congrès downtown, the operation got underway a bit behind schedule. "We weren't quite ready. We had a few small computer hitches. But now it's going well and we think it's going to be more and more efficient and people will have less waiting," said Francine Dupuis, deputy CEO of the CIUSSS du Center-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal. But people need to stop showing up too early, she said. "There's no point in waiting in line," Dupuis said. "They're going to be vaccinated anyway. And that's less waiting, especially for people who have walkers or wheelchairs." Julie Provencher, director of youth and public health services at CIUSSS de l'est de l'ile de Montreal, speaks with her 13-year-old daughter who volunteered to help out on Monday. Up to 3,000 shots will be administered daily at the Palais once it's fully operational. While the setbacks may be discouraging, health officials say it's worth the trouble. "The more we vaccinate, the better our chances are for reducing outbreaks and the number of cases — and for saving lives," Ginette Senez, a director at the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal. 'They make you feel very comfortable' Rosa Shields, 71, got her vaccine on Friday along with her 95-year-old mother in Montréal-Nord. As a primary caregiver over 70 years old, she was already eligible to book an appointment. "I was really ecstatic, like wow. I was really, really happy about it," Shields said on CBC Montreal's Daybreak. Her concerns about going to a shopping centre, instead of a clinic, to get their shots quickly subsided when she was warmly greeted and workers ensured clients maintained physical distance from each other. "They make you feel very comfortable," she said. "It wasn't as if you were all packed in like sardines." LOOK | Click through photo gallery of scenes from vaccinations sites: She said it took about an hour for the whole process to be completed. And with the vaccine came a feeling of relief — and the best night's sleep she'd had in a long time. "It was very, very emotional," said Shields, looking back on nearly a year of isolation and seeing people she knew dying from the disease. "Even as he was giving it to me, I felt like something had been lifted." Decarie Square site hits snags Elie Gross got her shot Monday at Decarie Square in Montreal's west end. She sees the vaccine as more than just an inoculation — it's a chance to be with her family once again. "I know that in three months," said Gross. "I can make a wedding of my granddaughter, and maybe the birth of a second great-grandchild." But while most people are happy with the result, getting the jab was not without frustration at the makeshift vaccination site. "I had an appointment at 10 o'clock and I'm way down at the end of the line," said Ernest Burman, who was one of many people complaining about some waits as long as an hour. Crowds of people waited for their COVID-19 vaccinations at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal on Monday. It was one of about 15 sites that are now open to the public in the city. Staff scrambled to provide chairs to those who were waiting, helping those who could not stand for such long stretches. Dupuis said staff are working to get things running smoothly. "I went along the line and I said, 'I'm so sorry. It's the first day. It's a little slower. But you're going to get there. You're going to get vaccinated.'" Dupuis said there's a lot involved in setting up these vaccination sites, including the training of staff and volunteers. "It's very complex. There are a lot of logistics. We have to train these people. We have to show them the computer system," she said. Decarie Square is expected to administer about 1,200 vaccinations per day once the operation gets up and running smoothly. Aiming to vaccinate up to 600,000 per week More vaccination sites are due to open later this month as the province aims to boost the turnout to more than half a million people per week. "Currently, we are running roughly 100,000 vaccines per week," said Daniel Paré, director of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. "But we are in the process of developing our capacity for 500,000 or 600,000 per week." While some who experienced the long waits Monday might think that's a bit of a lofty goal, there weren't bottlenecks at every location. At Patro Villeray, a recreational centre not far from the Jean-Talon hospital, there was hardly any wait. "The faster it is, the better it is for everyone," said Cera Tofan, a nursing student who helped vaccinate people at the rec centre. "We want to gain that much-desired collective immunity." The opening of mass vaccination centres in Montreal comes just over a year since the first known case of COVID-19 was detected in the city. To reserve an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can go on the online portal quebec.ca/covidvaccine or call 1-877-644-4545.
“Dark Sky,” by C.J. Box (Putnam) Steve Price, the billionaire left coast CEO of a social media company, wants to go elk hunting in Wyoming. He’s hankering for a “real” wilderness experience, he tells the state’s governor, because when a guy like Price wants to shoot something, that’s who he calls. The governor, hoping a good experience will convince Price to choose Wyoming for his new headquarters, orders Game Warden Joe Pickett to make it happen. Traipsing through the rugged mountains with a spoiled-rotten greenhorn and his fawning entourage isn’t on Joe’s bucket list, but the governor doesn’t give him much choice. Joe can lose the attitude or his job. But in “Dark Sky,” C.J. Box’s 21st Joe Pickett novel, another Wyoming outdoorsman is thrilled at the news that Price is coming. Earl Thomas blames social media in general and Price in particular for online bullying that he thinks drove his daughter to suicide. Earl figured he’d have to go to Silicon Valley to get his revenge, but now Price is coming to him. As it turns out, the suicide may have been mostly Earl’s fault, but acknowledging that is not in his tool kit. So as Price and Pickett head into the mountains to hunt elk, Thomas and his two thuggish sons mount up to hunt them. The result is a suspenseful, action-packed yarn set in the vividly described wilderness around Battle Mountain. Meanwhile, as Joe is struggling to survive, his pal Nate Romanowski, a not fully reformed outlaw turned falconer, has troubles of his own. Somebody has been sealing his falcons, and if Nate ever gets his hands on him, blood will be spilled. This subplot ends in a cliffhanger, an obvious teaser for Joe Picket No. 22. ___ Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.” Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said on Monday that Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka had gone back into lockdown due to rising COVID-19 cases and transmission of more infectious variants. Seven other public health units eased restrictions, as they moved down a level in the provincial framework.
Sorry kids, but an education expert says a snow day might not be enough to get you out of that test in the era of online learning. Heavy snowfall disrupted the reopening of schools in three COVID-19 hot spots in the Toronto area Tuesday. Public and Catholic school boards in Peel and York Regions cancelled in-person classes because of the inclement weather, but they said virtual learning would continue, snow or shine. Meanwhile, the Toronto District and Toronto Catholic District school boards decided to move ahead with reopening, but forced students to make their own way to class after cancelling transportation services. Paul Bennett, director of Schoolhouse Consulting, says the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a lesson about the need for learning to continue even when students can't make it to class. "It's time to say goodbye to snow days, once and for all," Bennett said by phone from Halifax. "We need to be using all the knowledge we've gained through adjusting to COVID-19 and put it to good use.' Bennett said Canadian schoolchildren are suffering from the "COVID slide," which he characterized as the greatest learning loss in recent history. But the crisis has also forced school authorities to adopt a variety of remote learning techniques that allow kids to carry on with their studies during periods of mass disruption, he said. "There has been a steep learning curve for teachers, parents and students. And they're now much more accustomed to performing online," Bennett said. "There's no rationale any longer for cancelling school because of inclement weather." In recent years, school boards in some regions seem to have become more inclined to cancel classes at the first sign of bad weather, particularly in the storm-prone Maritime provinces, he said. Bennett said the rise of snow days has not only cost students valuable class time, but also hurts working parents' productivity. While he appreciates that snow days are a childhood "rite of passage," Bennett said these surprise days of winter fun should be as special as they are scarce. "I love snow days as much as any kid going to school," he said. "But as soon as you're losing a week or two weeks (of school), as is the case in some jurisdictions across Canada ... there is a legitimate case to be made that there's significant learning loss." One Ontario school board is trying a new approach in responding to severe weather. The superintendent of the Waterloo Region District School Board said Tuesday marked the district's second "weather-impacted distance learning day," allowing virtual studies to continue through school and bus closures. Scott Miller said in previous years, students were still expected to attend school when transportation services were suspended on account of snow. But that's changed under the school board's new COVID-19 snow day policy, shifting all learning to the online sphere. Because not all students have access to devices, these modified snow days will be used to review what they've learned rather than teaching new concepts, said Miller. When normal studies can safely resume, he said, the school board is considering offering a hybrid of online and in-person learning so students can keep up with their studies regardless of whether buses are running, he said. "Students do look at snow days with exuberance. Or did in the past, certainly, as they saw it as a day that they didn't have to necessarily engage in school," said Miller. "This year, (we're) ... really taking advantage of some of the experiences so that we are learning through what has been an incredibly difficult time." Krista Harquail, a mother of two in York Region, said she welcomes the shift toward online learning as a way to ensure that students, staff and parents alike stay safe rather than risk driving to school in subpar conditions. She recognizes that snow days put pressure on parents who don't have the option of working from home. But if kids are going to be home regardless, they may as well be learning something, Harquail said. "Perhaps this is a step to make education better in the long run," she said. "No one's really falling behind." Harquail added that parents still have the option of pulling their children out of class if they want to make the most of the powder for seasonal pastimes, such as snowball fights and tobogganing. Still, she said her kids were disappointed to learn that they wouldn't be going back to class Tuesday. "I think this one hit a little bit differently than normal snow days," said Harquail. "(My daughter) almost started crying today. Because she's like, 'Oh, I thought I was going to go back to school and see my friends.'" This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
Canadians perusing social media may be coming across photos of their American peers bearing wide smiles and vaccination cards that show they've been inoculated against COVID-19. A recent ramping up of the United States's vaccine rollout has it vastly outpacing its northern neighbour, and some Canadians are wondering why distribution here is lagging so far behind. Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease doctor in South Carolina, says that while the speed of the American rollout has been impressive lately, it's not been without its faults. Communication between states has been mostly lacking, she says, and the absence of a uniform standard for vaccine eligibility has led to inconsistencies across jurisdictions. Some states, for example, include teachers high on their priority list while others are still working on inoculating those 80 years and older. Confusion in the early stages of the rollout caused frustration and dampened trust, she added. And while the shift to a new presidential administration last month has led to some improvements, Kuppalli says there's room for more. "I don't think we're the model of success," she said in a phone interview. "We've had a lot of challenges. ... but it's getting better. "Communication is better, there's definitely greater transparency, and states have been very forthcoming in ramping up vaccine measures and rolling out mass vaccination sites. So all that's helping." The U.S. was vaccinating an average of 1.7 million Americans per day this week, and had administered at least one dose to more than 12 per cent of its population as of Friday. Canada, which recently dealt with weeks of shipping delays and disruptions from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, has doled out nearly 1.4 million doses since its rollout began mid-December, covering about 2.65 per cent of its population with at least one dose. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday vaccine delivery is set to rapidly increase, however, with provinces preparing to roll out almost a million and a half doses over the next three weeks. The Americans have many factors in their favour when speeding up vaccine distribution, experts say, including a much more expansive supply than Canada's that's bolstered by production from U.S.-based Moderna. While having supply is the first step, Kuppalli says getting those vaccines into pharmacies, where they can be easily administered, has also helped. The American government announced weeks ago its aim to supply vaccines to about 40,000 drugstores in the coming months. Canada has not yet reached the pharmacy stage of its vaccine rollout, but Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert with the University of Toronto, expects that to happen once we have enough supply to branch out. "We have the exact same plan, we just need the critical mass of vaccines," said Bogoch, who's also on Ontario's vaccine distribution task force. "When we get that, you're gonna see from coast to coast vaccines offered at many different settings." While pharmacy distribution makes sense for a quick rollout, it also can lead to problems with wasted doses if people aren't showing up for their appointments, says Kelly Grindrod, a professor at the University of Waterloo's School of Pharmacy. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines need to used within a relatively short timeframe after they're thawed from ultra-cold storage temperatures, Grindrod says, and once a vial has been punctured, that interval decreases further. She says Canada has been learning from wastage setbacks other countries are experiencing, and she expects Plan B lists to be compiled of individuals who can quickly fill in when no-shows arise. Those lists have to be made fairly though, she cautions. "You have to make sure there's no queue-jumping. So it's not your friend coming in, it's actually people who would fall normally on the next round of priority." Grindrod says queue-jumping — where people with lower risk of contracting the virus or experiencing a bad COVID outcome are vaccinated before higher-priority groups — has been more culturally unacceptable in Canada than it has in the U.S., a country without a universal health-care system. So there's some justifiable outrage, she adds, when Canadians see American friends boasting about getting their jabs, especially if they're not in high-risk populations. "Equity is probably the most important principle of the Canadian vaccine rollout," Grindrod said. "And I'm not sure that's the case in the U.S." While the American rollout has had its faults, Grindrod admires some of the more unique approaches happening south of the border to ensure high-risk groups can get their doses. She noted the recent role Black churches have played in co-ordinating inoculation drives among typically underserved neighbourhoods, and the pharmacists who have been driving vaccines into remote communities to inoculate those who can't easily get to an immunization centre. "You're seeing really positive examples where communities themselves are helping to create effective outreach," she said. "So I think those are the real lessons we can learn from the U.S." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2021 Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
YEREVAN, Armenia — Political tensions in Armenia heightened Monday, with supporters of the embattled prime minister and the opposition each staging massive rallies in the capital. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to resign since he signed a peace deal in November that ended six weeks of intense fighting with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Russia-brokered agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Opposition protests seeking Pashinyan's ouster abated during the winter but intensified last week amid a rift between him and the country's military leaders. The spat was sparked by Pashinyan firing a deputy chief of the military's General Staff who had laughed off the prime minister's claim that only 10% of Russia-supplied Iskander missiles that Armenia used in the conflict exploded on impact. The General Staff then demanded Pashinyan’s resignation, and he responded by dismissing the General Staff chief, Col. Gen. Onik Gasparyan. The dismissal has yet to be approved by Armenia's largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian, who sent it back to Pashinyan, saying the move was unconstitutional. Pashinyan quickly resubmitted the demand for the general's ouster, and the prime minister's allies warned that the president could be impeached if he fails to endorse the move. Sarkissian's office responded with a strongly worded statement condemning “inadmissible speculation” about his move and emphasizing that his decision was “unbiased and driven exclusively by national interests.” Amid the escalating tensions, a group of protesters broke into a government building in central Yerevan on Monday to press their demand for Pashinyan's resignation, but they left shortly afterward without violence. Later, Pashinyan's supporters and the opposition rallied in the capital at separate sites. Pashinyan, a 45-year-old former journalist who came to power after leading large street protests in 2018 that ousted his predecessor, still enjoys broad support despite the country's humiliating defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh and the opposition calls for his resignation. He defended the peace deal as a painful but necessary move to prevent Azerbaijan from overrunning the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. The fighting with Azerbaijan that erupted in late September and lasted 44 days has left more than 6,000 people dead. Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to monitor the Nov. 10 peace deal. Armenia has relied on Moscow’s financial and military support and hosts a Russian military base — ties that will keep the two nations closely allied regardless of the outcome of the political infighting. Last week, the Russian Defence Ministry rebuked the Armenian leader for criticism of the Iskander missile, a state-of-the-art weapon touted by the military for its accuracy. The Russian military said it was “bewildered” to hear Pashinyan’s claim because Armenia hadn’t used an Iskander missile in the conflict. In a bid to repair the damage to Armenia's ties with Moscow, Pashinyan rescinded his claim Monday, acknowledging that he made the statement after being misled. —- Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed. Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
DETROIT — The U.S. government is investigating complaints of engine compartment fires in nearly 1.9 million Toyota RAV4 small SUVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating after getting 11 fire complaints involving the 2013 through 2018 model years. The RAV4 is the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. that isn’t a pickup truck. In documents posted Monday, the agency says fires start on the left side of the engine compartment. A terminal on the 12-volt battery may short to the frame, causing loss of electrical power, engine stalling or a fire. Most of the fires happened while the vehicles are being driven, but four owners complained that fire broke out with the engine off. A Toyota spokesman would not answer questions about whether the SUVs should be parked outdoors until the matter is resolved, but said the company is co-operating in the probe. A spokeswoman for NHTSA said she is checking into whether the RAV4s should stay outdoors due to the risk of catching fire with the engine off. NHTSA says improper battery installation or front-end collision repair was a factor in the complaints. The agency says the RAV4 has a higher number of fire complaints in the battery area than comparable vehicles. Investigators will try to understand better what is contributing to the fires. The vehicles aren’t being recalled but the investigation could lead to one. The Associated Press
MOSCOW — Two top United Nations human rights experts urged an international probe into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and called Monday for his immediate release from prison. Agnès Callamard, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Irene Khan, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said Navalny’s poisoning was intended to “send a clear, sinister warning that this would be the fate of anyone who would criticize and oppose the government.” “Given the inadequate response of the domestic authorities, the use of prohibited chemical weapons, and the apparent pattern of attempted targeted killings, we believe that an international investigation should be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to establish the facts and clarify all the circumstances concerning Mr. Navalny’s poisoning," they said in a statement. Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown while still in a coma to Berlin for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning. In December, Navalny released the recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he described as an alleged member of a group of officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up. The FSB dismissed the recording as a fake. Callamard and Khan on Monday published their official letter sent to the Russian authorities in December and noted that “the availability of Novichok and the expertise required in handling it and in developing a novel form such as that found in Mr. Navalny’s samples could only be found within and amongst state actors.” The experts emphasized in the letter that Navalny “was under intensive government surveillance at the time of the attempted killing, making it unlikely that any third party could have administered such a banned chemical without the knowledge of the Russian authorities.” Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the nerve agent poisoning. The arrest triggered massive protests, to which the Russian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown. Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Last week, Navalny was sent to serve his prison sentence to a prison outside Moscow despite the ECHR's demand for his release, which cited concerns for his safety. Russian officials have dismissed demands from the United States and the European Union to free Navalny and stop the crackdown on his supporters. Mikhail Galperin, Russia's deputy justice minister, charged Monday that Moscow has contested the ECHR's ruling demanding Navalny's release in a letter sent to the Strasbourg-based court. Meanwhile, the UN rights experts noted that an international probe into Navalny's poisoning is “especially critical” now when he is in prison. They called for his immediate release and reminded Russia that it's “responsible for the care and protection of Mr. Navalny in prison and that it shall be held responsible for any harm that may befall him.” Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Health officials have declared COVID-19 outbreaks at two more Metro Vancouver hospitals after finding evidence the virus was transmitted within a medicine unit at both locations. A statement from Fraser Health says the outbreaks are in single units of Surrey Memorial Hospital and Chilliwack General Hospital. One patient at Surrey Memorial and five patients at Chilliwack General have tested positive for COVID-19. Those units have been closed to admissions, but Fraser Health says other units and the emergency rooms of both hospitals remain open. Information from Vancouver Coastal Health shows a COVID-19 outbreak continues at three in-patient units on three separate floors of the highrise tower at Vancouver General Hospital. The units remain closed to admissions, transfers and visitors after COVID-19 outbreaks were confirmed on those wards, with the first outbreak reported Feb. 21. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson’s legendary career is being celebrated in a Heritage Minute.Historica Canada released the newest clip, timed for Black History Month, in its ongoing series that highlights influential figures from across the country.The minute-long video chronicles the seven-time Grammy winner's rise from a working-class Montreal family to becoming a world-renowned piano virtuoso.It touches on his encounters with greatness, such as being dubbed “the man with four hands,” and acknowledges the racism he faced at jazz gigs in the 1940s.Peterson died of kidney failure in 2007 at the age of 82.Both the English and French versions of the Heritage Minute feature end narration by Black Canadian pianists. Oliver Jones appears in the English version while Gregory Charles handles the French.The Heritage Minute is written by Brynn Byrne and directed by Aaron Yeger, known as co-writer and producer of the acclaimed 2015 film "Sleeping Giant."Historica Canada also produced a companion video exploring the history of Little Burgundy, a Black working-class community in Montreal and the jazz culture within it. The separate clip is narrated by Peterson’s daughter Celine Peterson, who was consulted about her father's Heritage Minute from its inception.Peterson says her father received many honours throughout his career, but she believes he would be especially proud of seeing his story in a Heritage Minute.“I think this is one of the ones that would really overwhelm him," she said.“People all over the world are familiar with the Heritage Minute, and it’s such a monumental form of recognition."Peterson, who serves as producer of the Kensington Market Jazz Festival in Toronto, says the debut of her father’s Heritage Minute during Black History Month is significant.“A huge part of my dad's story was racism, first at home and then around the world,” she said, pointing out that it was especially prominent early in his career as he travelled the southern United States.“He told the story when I was young about driving up on a KKK meeting when they were going from city to city. Hearing him talk about it is still haunting for me today. Maybe even a bit more so now than it was before.”Peterson's Heritage Minute is an especially cinematic one, which raises the question of whether his relatives have considered granting the rights for his story to a production company for a feature film."In the past, there have been some conversations but nothing that has necessarily been the right fit," his daughter said."Having his story told in that capacity would be natural, to a certain extent. It needs to happen, it's just a matter of when and by whom."--Watch the Oscar Peterson Heritage Minute: https://bit.ly/3bgpHHmThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the narration by Black Canadian pianists was for the full Heritage Minute. In fact, the pianists contribute only the end narration in both English and French.
Trystan Lackner first got interested in urban food security way back in his senior year of high school after a supportive vice-principal helped him build a community garden in barren soil where portable classrooms had been removed. It ended up producing around eight or 10 grocery bags full of lettuce, potatoes, carrots and other produce that they donated to local volunteer group Feed The Need Durham. But it only lasted the year that Lackner and classmates he had brought along were there to sustain it. “It was a seed,” says Lackner, explaining he didn't have the experience or knowledge at the time to carry it forward. “The community garden was there, and then it wasn't, and there wasn't any communication of those ideas.” Fast-forward a few years and a degree in international development later, and Lackner is looking to make a more lasting impact. After six months of preparation, Lackner and colleagues hosted an online summit called "Does Your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change?" last month as part of Youth Challenge International’s Innovate MY Future program. “Our whole idea was to develop an educational summit for young people to become more aware, get involved, and connect with the experts within the field,” he says, about the Youth Roots Durham project. The hope is that more informed communities will build more resilience into the process by which they get fed, one that faced a sharp shock due to COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, as well as ongoing threats to the same system from climate change. The summit included a weekend panel discussion of experts followed by networking, and workshops on the links between food and climate change, the benefits of moving from mass production of commodity crops, and how to get involved in pushing for more sustainable practices. One speaker at the summit was a local permaculture farmer, who grows multiple crops in proximity to each other for mutual benefit. The practice can reduce the need for pesticides and cut carbon emissions by limiting the need to transport food, Lackner explains. The information gathered in the course of the project is being prepared to be archived on a page of the Durham Food Policy Council’s website, ensuring that unlike his high school garden, Lackner’s legacy may live on. The region — which is suburban in its southern sections near Lake Ontario and more rural in its north towards the Lake Simcoe border — exports most of its produce in the form of commodity crops, such as soy and corn, Lackner says. He says that with demand for food to expand by roughly 70 per cent in coming decades as our global population approaches 10 billion people, innovative solutions applied locally will be key. “There is a very high possibility that you will see in the next decade or two, if we can innovate more with the greenhouses and produce more in warehouse settings, you can essentially urbanize and create factories of food within these large urban centres,” he says. In addition to these modern factory farms, Lackner wants to see more rooftop gardens and government policy that sets aside land to protect it from being developed other than as farmland. And for young people wondering what they can do, he says just dive in. “Get out there, get your hands dirty. Make that change that you want to see,” he says. “If you see something that no one else is doing or that's missing, don't wait for someone else to get that going, start it yourself and get involved. There is a way to do all that and connect with the experts and community partners.” Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
On Friday, it was announced that $550,000 will be provided to Sault Ste Marie by the Ontario Government and Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services. These funds will help create affordable housing for Indigenous women and children. They are aimed at supporting women fleeing domestic violence, women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness during COVID. According to Statistics Canada, Indigenous women are over 3 times more likely to be a victim of domestic violence then non-Indigenous women. Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services is using the funding to purchase four three-bedroom houses, which will serve as single-family homes. These homes are in close proximity to schools, parks and nearby public transit. "It is critically important to ensure Indigenous women and their children fleeing domestic violence have access to safe housing," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the new variants, we need to provide vulnerable people immediate access to housing so they can stay home, stay safe, and save lives." Domestic violence has increased significantly during COVID, as many are stuck isolating in unsafe situations. This makes it difficult to get away from the abuser when your reasons to leave the house are few and far between. According to the United Nations, projections show that for every three months a lockdown continues, an additional 15 million women are expected to be affected by violence. This grant is only a starting point for the City of Sault Ste. Marie when addressing domestic violence in the pandemic. Additional resources for domestic violence in Algoma:Children's Aid Society of AlgomaSexual Assault Care CentreNimkii Naabkawagan Family Crisis ShelterNogdawindamin Family and Community ServicesWomen in Crisis Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com
ESPN has re-signed Rece Davis to a multiyear contract that will keep him in place as host of the network’s popular Saturday college football pregame show. The network announced the deal Monday. Davis, 55, is entering his seventh year as host of ESPN’s “College GameDay.” He told The Associated Press this new deal will take him through his 10th season leading the show that includes Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Lee Corso. "I believe I have the best job in sports television, but when you’ve been doing anything for a while there comes a period of evaluation, I guess, to see whether there are things you would like to pursue,” Davis said. “And for me I still very much wanted to host ‘College GameDay’ and to still have the opportunity to host some significant events along with that from time to time. Fortunately for me our place was able to provide all of those things.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the network. Davis will also continue to host ”College GameDay” for basketball, along with the network’s coverage of the NFL draft on ABC and the men’s Final Four. Davis is also set to host ESPN's coverage of the UEFA European Football Championship this summer. He will still to do some play-by-play for college football and basketball games. “The professionalism, energy and knowledge he brings to every show and every assignment is first-class as one of the best in the business," ESPN senior vice-president of production Lee Fitting said in a statement. Davis declined to say if he was pursued by other networks, but he said negotiations with ESPN moved expeditiously. “ESPN, and my long relationship with them, sort of had what I feel like my strong suits are but also opportunities to do some things to continue to grow as well," Davis said. The basketball version of “GameDay” began in 2005 with Davis as the host. He took over as host of the college football road show in 2015, replacing Chris Fowler. Fowler left “GameDay” to concentrate on calling games and become ESPN's lead college football play-by-play announcer. Davis said he enjoys calling games and might consider making a similar transition later in his career. “I feel like I've really built my career on hosting,” Davis said. “I hate the phrase tee-up the analyst. Anybody can do that. A good host is prepared for the conversation and knows where the lines are. He added: “My first priority is ‘GameDay.’ I still get a rush every time. I like being at the command centre of big events." “College GameDay” had a very different vibe last year as the coronavirus pandemic forced the show to be held on location but without fans. The threat of COVID-19 led to Corso, 85, doing the show from his home in Florida. “College GameDay” faced competition for the first time the last two seasons from Fox's “Big Noon Kickoff," but ESPN's show has remained on top in terms of viewership. “The best way to do it is to take care of your business and not be fixated on what someone else does and to be be confident and thorough in the direction you've tried to go into to,” Davis said. “If you start trying to react to someone else, that's more detrimental than helpful in my opinion. ”We still want to be regarded as the ultimate destination and if you turn away from our show, you're going to miss something." ___ Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/ ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Ralph D. Russo, The Associated Press