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Global News: Kitchener

Demonstrators arrested for trespassing after proposed meeting with Hamilton mayor collapses

The arrests at city hall come after a dispute over who could attend a meeting between mayor Fred Eisenberger and demonstrators.

CTV News Kitchener

Garbage truck driver charged in crash that killed pedestrian, dog

A garbage truck driver has been charged in connection to a fatal crash that killed a woman and her dog earlier this year.

CTV News Kitchener

Waterloo regional council votes to close five child-care centres

Waterloo regional council has decided to close five local child-care centres.

Global News: Kitchener

Brain health a concern because of added stressors during COVID-19 pandemic, scientists say

Evidence suggests that women are disproportionately affected when it comes to diseases that affect the brain.

CTV News Kitchener

Guelph company building freezers to store, transport COVID-19 vaccine

A Guelph company is adapting its technology to help transport and store a COVID-19 vaccine once it's available.

CTV News Kitchener

Lockdown a 'real possibility' as Waterloo Region continues to see elevated COVID-19 spread

Region of Waterloo's top doctor said a lockdown is a "real possibility" as the spread of COVID-19 continues in the community.

CTV News Kitchener

COVID-19 outbreak declared in cohort at Clemens Mill Public School

Health officials have declared a COVID-19 outbreak in a student cohort at Clemens Mill Public School after two students tested positive for the disease.

Global News: Kitchener

Fact or Fiction: Does 20/20 vision mean perfect eyesight? Experts say not quite

Optometrists say children are often told they have 20/20 vision, despite struggling to read and spell.

CTV News Kitchener

Toyota plants offering on-site rapid COVID-19 testing for employees

Employees at Toyota's manufacturing plants in Cambridge and Woodstock can now get tested for COVID-19 at work.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario doctors recommend those at highest risk of getting COVID-19 be vaccinated first

The Ontario Medical Association says health-care workers, first responders and seniors living in long-term care and retirement homes should be the first to be immunized.

Global News: Kitchener

Another record number of COVID-19 cases reported in Waterloo Region

There have now been 3,751 COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region since the first case was recorded in March.

Global News: Kitchener

Waterloo Regional Police received 110 collision calls on Tuesday

On Tuesday, police received 95 property damage calls, another 14 in which people reported being injured, and one call reporting a hit-and-run collision.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Ford responds after retailers ask Ontario government to lift restrictions in Toronto, Peel Region

During Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, Premier Doug Ford responded after a coalition of about 50 retailers called on the Ontario government to lift COVID-19 restrictions for non-essential stores in Toronto and Peel Region it claims is making things worse. He said that “his heart breaks” for them but that ultimately he has to “follow the advice...

Global News: Kitchener

Proposed legislation has conservation authorities across Ontario sounding the alarm

The province has recently proposed legislation which it says will reduce red tape and speed up development, and that has conservation authorities across Ontario sounding the alarm. Conservation Ontario says the bill weakens the Conservation Authorities ability to protect the environment by reducing the input they have when it comes to development, and they say...

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Ontario announces new funding to expand home and virtual care services

During Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, Ontario premier Doug Ford announced more than $115 million to support 850 patients with complex care needs transition to home and community care as part of the province’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan. The funding also includes 14.5 million to expand virtual care across the province.

CTV News Kitchener

Waterloo Region reports another COVID-19-related death, 88 new cases

Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 88 more cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as another death in Waterloo Region.

Global News: Kitchener

Guelph adds 8 new COVID-19 cases, active cases rise to 53

Wellington County reported three new COVID-19 cases, raising its total case count to 347, but active cases and hospitalizations fell for the second straight day.

Global News: Kitchener

Indigenous Services minister says Trudeau government won’t end boil-water advisories by March 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller confirmed the Trudeau government will not meet its pledge to lift drinking water advisories in First Nations communities by March 2021.

Observer Extra

Israel ‘Isey’ Weber

Israel ‘Isey’ WeberJune 20, 1936 – December 5, 2013 Dearest Isey, Seven years have gone by.Lovingly we hold…

The post Israel ‘Isey’ Weber appeared first on OBSERVER.

CTV News Kitchener

Over 40 cm of snow recorded in a parts of southern Ontario

A slow-moving system dropped a significant amount of snow in many communities in southern Ontario from Monday through Wednesday morning.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario hospitals grapple with capacity issues as coronavirus cases rise

The Ontario Hospital Association urged residents Wednesday to follow public health measures in an effort to help address capacity issues, particularly in intensive care units across the province.

Global News: Kitchener

Live, tiny Christmas trees up for ‘adoption’ offer an eco-friendly option

Quebec father and young son's 'Titi Sapin' or 'Tiny Trees' adoption service gives customers the choice to 'adopt' their living holiday tree.

CTV News Kitchener

Police called to over 100 crashes on Tuesday amid snowy weather

The Waterloo Regional Police Service received 110 calls to car crashes on Tuesday as the region saw its first winter storm of December.

Global News: Kitchener

Dozens flock to see Christmas lights on Weber Street in Kitchener on daily basis

If you time it right, you can see Santa and Mrs. Claus on Weber Street in Kitchener.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario reports more than 1,700 new coronavirus cases, 35 deaths

According to Wednesday's provincial report, 500 cases were recorded in Peel Region, 410 in Toronto, 196 in York Region, 124 in Durham Region and 103 in Waterloo Region.

Global News: Kitchener

Retailers ask Ontario government to lift COVID-19 restrictions in Toronto, Peel Region

A coalition of about 50 retailers is calling on the Ontario government to lift COVID-19 restrictions for non-essential stores it claims is making things worse.

The Cord

Why we still need to study the humanities in an increasingly STEM-dominated post-secondary world

♦Photo by Darien Funk

The dichotomy between science and humanities in terms of use when it comes to post-secondary degrees has long been debated. 

It is a common misconception that degrees in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are more valuable than those based in the arts and humanities. 

Some might say this criticism comes from the notion that STEM subjects prepare students more for direct workplace-related scenarios, neglecting the fact that humanities provide exceptionally important and applicable skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving.

Unfortunately, impressions such as these are present in our very own community at Wilfrid Laurier University. 

As a humanities major myself, I often engage in debates with many of my peers when it comes to determining the value of one discipline in contrast to another, based on the presumed use of the degree. 

Some may look at my progression as a Bachelor of Arts double-degree student in comparison to a Bachelor’s of Business Administration student and conclude that my degree provides little to no opportunities after graduation, while the BBA student has a variety of options and employers jumping at the chance to hire them. 

However, while one can certainly not deny the value of completing education in a subject that is directly related to a field of work, we cannot undermine underestimate the importance of what can be learned through the humanities.  

The purpose of this article is not to take one position over another, but rather, to highlight the importance of both areas of study. 

If STEM subjects can, for arguments’ sake, be understood as the “‘how’” question (i.e. how it works), then the humanities must subsequently be perceived as the “‘why’” question (i.e. why something works). 

This is to say that STEM allows us to engage in a deeper understanding of how many different aspects of the world function, such as: How does the central nervous system work? How does gravity work? How do we create buildings? How do we stop COVID-19? 

On the other hand, the humanities allow us to understand why all this is both necessary and possible. Questions explored here pertain closer to things such as: What caused certain historical events to take place? What were the repercussions? How do economies develop? 

These subjects demonstrate deeper insight into the human condition, all the while providing practical real-life working skills such as communication, critical thinking, empathy, problem-solving and countless others.  

A traditionally liberal arts education — one that incorporates an equally- weighted focus on subjects in STEM, arts and humanities — may be seen as the most beneficial to the education of individuals. 

In this way, Students would gain a cohesive collection of understandings regarding a variety of different disciplines. This might also allow students to determine which areas of study they truly are better suited for. 

If students have the opportunity to develop their skills in multiple subjects, they have a better chance of finding one to excel in. This is very explanatory of the value of subjects as well. Similarly to how one subject is not inherently more challenging than another, a person in one discipline should not be perceived as smarter than someone not in that particular discipline. 

The truth of the matter is that different minds were built for different things. Some people’s brains are made to excel in the sciences or math while others are truly gifted in topics such as literature or history. 

It takes different people to master different skills, and this diversity should be reflected in the importance of different degrees. It is this variety that allows students to expand their skill sets and truly be better prepared for the workforce and life in general. 

We cannot simply have how without why, nor should we attempt why without how. 

STEM and the humanities should not be competing for dominance, but rather be reworked to be integrated into all areas of education so that, as students, we may benefit from all aspects that each discipline may have to offer. 

Thus, we must perceive not only the degrees, but the individuals who obtained them, as equally as demanding and important to the function of society as each other. 

It is not the case that the humanities and arts should be valued above STEM, or vice versa;, simply, different subjects are suited to different aspects of working life, as are different minds better suited for different subjects. 

We are not inherently better than each other and our degrees do not determine any sort of standing. We are all simply individuals who are each independently capable of different things at varying degrees of success.

The Cord

Ballantyne and Golden Hawks Baseball “focused” on the three-peat

♦Contributed Image

Although, the OUA sports cancellation resulted in a disappointing fall for coach Scott Ballantyne and his successful Golden Hawks baseball squad, the team has remained focused. Despite limited on-field action in recent months, Ballantyne and the team are eager on a return to the field next year and committed on defending their championship. 

“It was different. I think the guys just missed each other and not getting a chance to hang out. I know I definitely missed the opportunity to spend the fall with them and watch them compete with each other,” Coach Ballantyne said. 

With eyes aimed at a three-peat Coach Ballantyne and his staff were happy to have some normalcy while being granted a phased return to train at Laurier’s University Stadium. 

“We did get a chance to practice in early October. The practices were held at the football stadium and were different because we weren’t preparing for game or anything in particular,” Coach Ballantyne said. 

“It was more about just everybody being happy that they could see each other. Having that comradery and getting a chance to be together,” he added. 

Laurier’s Department of Athletics cleared the majority of varsity teams during that first week of October for a phased return to train. The baseball team, like so many other Golden Hawk sports, were thrilled with the opportunity to have everyone together and participate in some sort of practice, albeit much different from most other years. 

Coach Ballantyne has built a great program and brought great success to the Golden Hawks throughout his 13 years leading the team. 

With eyes aimed at a three-peat, coach Ballantyne added to the talent that the Golden Hawks have had throughout their recent baseball teams and put forth a great 2020 recruiting class in anticipation for the next season. 

“We were pretty excited about this class. We weren’t going to lose a lot from our 2019 team, and we focused in on top-end guys,” Coach Ballantyne said. 

With many of the student-athletes returning from their championship winning team last season, Coach Ballantyne explained that he was focused on a smaller class, involving top quality players around North America. 

Some of the highlight pieces of the incoming recruiting class, that will join the Golden Hawks when they return to action include, LHP, Nick Fraser, outfielder, Ryan Freemantle and LHP, Mike Mommersteeg. 

Ryan Freemantle and Mike Mommersteeg both have experience playing for schools in the U.S., while Freemantle has also spent his most recent seasons as a member of the Guelph Gryphons baseball team. As a member of the Gryphons, Freemantle was a reliable outfielder and a productive hitter in the OUA. 

Ballantyne is also high on Mommersteeg as he most recently spent time with Valparaiso University, a division one school in the United States. Ballantyne explained how important the experience is for the team. 

“Mommersteeg has spent four years at a division one school and pitched against the #1 ranked team in the NCAA, Louisville last spring before the COVID shutdown,” Coach Ballantyne said. 

The experienced pitcher transferred to Laurier to complete his graduate studies but deferred his academic year to next season so he can compete for the Golden Hawks baseball team. 

Nick Fraser is also an exciting add for Laurier, as he was ranked the ninth best prospect in Canada by Perfect Game, the top scouting service in North America. Fraser has spent his last four seasons with the Ontario Blue Jays before suffering a torn labrum. 

Although dealing with some shoulder injuries the past few seasons, Ballantyne calls Fraser a “division one pitcher” that Laurier is lucky to have due to the conditions surrounding the pandemic. 

Nick Fraser has also had the time to recover and heal given the cancellation this season and Ballantyne is excited to see the young pitcher on the mound for the Golden Hawks. 

Coach Ballantyne continues to praise the baseball talent across the OUA while also doing a great job himself in fielding one of the most successful Golden Hawk teams across all sports, over the past few years.

The Cord

Let’s talk about the Great Reset

♦Contributed image

While writing for our last issue of 2020, it’s needless for me to say that the world has been turned upside down in a matter of months. 

From its origins as a worldwide health crisis, COVID-19 dominateds the political stage,  puts pressure on global economies, and has caused mixed emotions for everyone. From paranoia to complete dismissal, COVID-19 already has and will continue to leave its name in history textbooks.

Having said this, I’m sure many of us —, myself included —, feel that the pandemic has consumed most, if not all, aspects of our lives and we wish to disconnect from the larger world to avoid the continuous dialogue. 

If you’ve managed to avoid the news and COVID-19 media thus far, you may not be able to much longer. 

The latest discussions regard the proposal of “‘The Great Reset”,’ a proposal put forward by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to use the COVID-19 pandemic as “a unique window of opportunity” to rebuild a sustainable economy. While many details are unknown, this project aims to improve capitalism by making investments more geared towards the mutual progress of nations and focus on environmental initiatives that make sustainable ideas more profitable.

While the project was first proposed in May, political leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. president-elect Joe Biden, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson have announced their endorsement of the plan. 

The WEF was founded in 1971 by German globalist, Klaus Schwab, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland  ais a not-for-profit foundation that is “independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests.” The WEF is committed to improving the world with the adoption of global governance and global wealth distribution, believing that capitalism is inequitable.

The recent interest in WEF collaboration has prompted the Great Reset to be called names such as a “socialist Left Marxist” initiative or a “global communist takeover plan.” However, a more appropriate name would be “a corporatist initiative.”

Corporatism is the notion that society should be organized by and for its large interest groups and intermediated by, and ultimately subordinate to, the state. Essentially, corporatism allows large corporations to dominate all aspects of society, not just the marketplace. 

In the case of the Great Reset, there is a call for global stakeholders to work together to tackle the direct consequences of COVID-19. 

However, this has set off alarms bells for international conspiracy beliefs that COVID-19 was a planned pandemic to serve a globalist agenda in which the global financial elites purposefully released the Ccoronavirus to cause conditions that would force a restructuring of world governments. 

The conspiracy alleges that the mission of the Great Reset is to take global economic control and instate a Marxist totalitarian regime that would abolish personal ownership and property rights, send the military into cities, impose a mandatory vaccine, and displace those who resist.

While the Great Reset conspiracy theory is far-fetched, there has been opposition towards the endorsements of this initiative by other politicians. 

Pierre Poilievre, a current member of the Canadian Parliament launched an online petition to “Stop The Great Reset” after Trudeau endorsed the WEF initiative in September, tallying over tens of thousands of signatures. Poilievre believes that Trudeau should focus on getting people back to work in the current economic system and not “use the Canadian economy as a laboratory.” 

Poilievre’s critics believe he is only adding oxygen to a baseless conspiracy theory; however, Poilievre is asking fundamental questions about what it means to “reset and reimagine” domestic and global economies, and what, exactly, this would mean for Canadians. 

We’re living in a period of anxiety where many of us, myself included, do not know what to believe, regardless of how long we’ve already lived with COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. 

While we may do our best to avoid these trending debates, we should value knowledge over ignorance. With that being said, we should take these discussions with a grain of salt, reflecting on these ideas in relation to our personal beliefs and logical reality. 

The Great Reset could very well be in our future and we should begin to (mentally) prepare for all its outcomes.

The Cord

Balancing mental health during final exams with activity

♦Contributed image

As the cold weather settles in and the final exam period just around the corner, stress and overexertion are at a high on the Wilfrid Laurier campuses. Manage these stressful times with small activities to recharge and boost your mood. 

Each final exam period leaves Laurier students with higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression due to the demands of their schoolwork. This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic moving school online, it is especially important to find time to take a break and decompress. 

Physical activity offers a way to boost one’s mood and mental wellbeing, Tom Hazell, an Associate Professor at Laurier of Kinesiology and Physical Education commented on the importance of using even small activities to improve cognition. 

“Getting active, generally makes — focusing on schoolwork easier, your cognition improves with activity, you are better off taking a half an -hour walk twice a day than you are doing an extra half an hour of studying.”.

Mental health can affect many areas of one’s daily life such as sleep, self-esteem, memory and thinking. All of which play significant roles in a student’s success in school. When one is off-center the rest tend to follow suit, leaving an individual to possibly feel stuck and unmotivated. 

Sleeping patterns often go astray during final exams, due to long nights of studying, causing students to sleep at odd hours or not at all. Some also have issues winding down to prepare for sleep; light exercise like yoga or stretching can help promote sleep and regulate sleeping patterns. 

Self-esteem may also be reduced during final exams, as burn out due to lack of sleep can cause your efforts in studying to not be reflected in your grades. Exercise can help reduce the feelings of powerlessness by setting easily reachable exercise goals. By meeting these goals, you can feel a sense of accomplishment, making you more confident in your abilities to do your work well.

“It is an important time for everyone, not just students to carve out time to focus on getting out of the same routine and hopefully kind of normalize things a little bit,” Hazell said.” 

Getting out of your routine by leaving your house is not necessarily a possibility right now but changing one’s routine in little ways can be beneficial to one’s mental health. Instead of taking a break from school by looking at your phone, try adding in exercises that are easy but still increase your blood flow. 

According to the Canadian Psychological Association, physical activity releases endorphins that help reduce stress and increase concentration to keep the mind sharp for mentally challenging tasks. Schoolwork being a challenging task and one that requires students to be stimulated to properly understand and manage the critical information, an activity can help motivate and bring focus back on their studies. 

Hazell noted that exercise does not always have to be intense or purposeful, it can be a slow and easy activity to change your routine and boost your mood.

“Activity can be used for many things past reducing hunger and weight loss;, it is very beneficial in balancing mental health,” he said.

The Cord

The Cord’s Best of 2020

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Jeff Tweedy and his two sons have found new ways to entertain their audiences all while in the comfort of their own home. The Tweedy Show was initiated by Jeff’s wife, Susie, directing, commentating and live streaming her family’s often nonchalant set lists over Instagram—the inaugural episode featuring Tweedy in the bathtub. The chemistry and comradery of the family has been nothing short of comforting over the past however many months. The acoustic, spontaneous renditions of Wilco classics are only an added bonus. Even those unfamiliar with Tweedy’s work will no doubt find joy throughout these livestreams. 

Jackson Carse

Jack Black

Jack Black, the 51-year-old actor and comedian has taken to every social media platform he has to educate his followers, make them laugh and do elaborate game reviews. He is handling quarantine like a pro. Youtube @jablinksiGames for vlog footage, music and skits; his 4.6 million Tik Tok followers get to view his hilarious renditions on pop culture dance trends. Using comedy to promote voting, mask wearing and safety measures all while making us fall on the floor laughing from his ridiculously goofy comedy. 

Lauren Symbolik-Berger


I love Lizzo. And ever since she graced TikTok with her presence, my life has been better because of it. Unlike other tone-deaf celebrities who, seemingly out of boredom and their own delusional separation from reality, film themselves talking about how they respect the virus, Lizzo is a breath of fresh air. Hilarious, kind and passionate about the issues facing people in today’s tumultuous political climate, she uses her public platform to spread positivity, awareness and joy.  

Emily Waitson

Tiktok trends Whipped coffee

When the pandemic first hit and we were instructed to socially distance, many people began to look for new ways to occupy themselves. This South Korean whipped coffee recipe, also known as dalgona coffee, quickly became popular across TikTok in March. It’s made by whipping equal portions of instant coffee powder, sugar and hot water until it begins to form stiff peaks and becomes creamy — it is then added to hot or cold milk. This recipe uses ingredients that you probably already have, which is particularly convenient considering many essential ingredients have been quickly disappearing from grocery store shelves (thanks, panic-buyers). Whenever I see whipped coffee, I’m instantly taken back to the Tiger King and “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion days of quarantine. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

“Say So” dance

TikTok dance trends are cropping up daily, often reusing similar choreography in different combinations, but the “Say So” dance is one that went hugely viral at the beginning of 2020. The dance, created by TikTok user Haley Sharpe, was incorporated into Doja Cat’s official music video for “Say So” after her song was popularized by the video-sharing platform. “Say So” has now been listened to more than 635 million times on Spotify. This song is one of many that has gone viral thanks to TikTok. The “Say So” dance is probably one of the most notable TikTok dances next to Jalaiah Harmon’s choreography to K Camp’s song “Lottery,” also known as “the Renegade” dance, which went viral in late 2019. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

No Nuance November

The newest TikTok trend is ‘No Nuance November,” where people share their hot takes on a subject, usually political in nature, without any sort of explanation. Because the person does not explain their statement, it leaves viewers to mull over the context behind the statement by themselves. The trend was launched by TikTok user Tomás, who encouraged people to post a daily hot take throughout the month of November. Although “No Nuance November” is now over, I can see this trend continuing in some capacity as it allows people to express their opinions without feeling the need to engage in an often burdensome conversation or debate. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

COVID-19 friendly restaurants Kinkaku Izakaya

Ever since the premature closure of Waterloo’s greatest Japanese restaurant Yummyaki, it’s been a tiresome period of bland mall-sushi and canned tuna. Well, the search is over. Kinkaku Izakaya, located uptown, is without a doubt the best sushi available in the region. Thankfully, they are available for takeout at a relatively reasonable price. For all the sushi lovers out there, you’d be pressed to find a roll on their menu you didn’t like and Kinkaku’s takoyaki, or fried octopus balls, are a celestial gift from the heavens above. After a long day of doing nothing, I couldn’t think of a better way to induce sleep than to order from Kinkaku Izakaya.

Jackson Carse


For those with a hankering for schnitzel and heavy cheese bread, Veslo Family Restaurant is the place to go. Prices are strikingly low for the amount of food provided and delivery times are almost unbelievably fast. Veslo’s shopska salad could convince a carnivore into vegetarianism and their chevapis might just be enough to sway PETA to take a nibble. Their massive platters—delivered in a pizza box—are enough to feed half your block and more. The eight gallons of coleslaw alone will induce a caloric comatose. They are available for delivery through Skip The Dishes and are well worth the price gouge.

Jackson Carse

Box Marley Jamaican Kitchen

I always have an appetite for Caribbean food but there were never too many options close to campus—that is, until Box Marley opened this summer. Located inside the Great Food Hall at the corner of University and King, Box Marley is a take-out style restaurant that specializes in Caribbean cuisine, with vegan options as well. The portions have become more generous since they first opened and everything is priced pretty affordably. Food is prepared and packaged with a quick turnaround time so that you don’t have to stick around the store too long, making it a COVID-19 friendly take-out option. They have an online ordering system through their website and they also offer free delivery if you call their number, making it all the more convenient. 

Alyssa Di Sabatino

Top TV Binges Impractical Jokers

No one on the entire planet makes me laugh more than the Impractical Jokers. What is best described as a “reverse prank show”, Impractical Jokers can be caught on both Netflix or binged on YouTube. Four friends from Staten Island—Joe, Sal, Q and Murr—are sent throughout New York City with the sole, often successful task of embarrassing the hell out of each other. Whether it’s Sal’s reluctant tattoo of Jaden Smith or Murr having all the hair on his head shaved before taking a new driver’s license photo, every episode of this show will leave you gasping for air, cackling at their sheer willingness and dedication to entertain.  

Jackson Carse

The Crown, Season Four  

Season four of the acclaimed Netflix series The Crown tackles the beginning and subsequent breakdown of the highly-publicized marriage between Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. And boy, is it worth the watch. While it can be viewed as a standalone in the series, I highly recommend watching the previous seasons, especially if you have any interest in the British monarchy. This season successfully cultivated a newfound love for Princess Diana and a hatred for Prince Charles, particularly amongst Gen-Z audiences—and rightfully so. The Crown does an excellent job of introducing such prolific public figures to a younger generation of viewers. It’s clear from the countless TikTok videos I’ve seen about it that the hype is pretty widespread and justified. It also features the brilliant Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, which is an added bonus to an already wonderful cast. 

Emily Waitson

The Queen’s Gambit 

One of Netflix’s latest releases, The Queen’s Gambit, has received high accolades from viewers. Set in the 1950s and 60s, the story follows Beth, an orphaned chess prodigy, on her journey to become the greatest chess player, while she also struggles with emotional problems and substance dependency. Beth is played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who is also known for her roles in Split and Peaky Blinders. Admittedly, a show about chess does sound a little boring, but since its release in late October the show has become Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries. It’s even credited with causing a surging interest in chess — luckily you don’t have to understand chess to watch the show.

Alyssa Di Sabatino

Top albums Gaslighter by The Chicks

Making their debut back to the music scene after 14 years with a changed name and an agenda for vengeance, Gaslighter by The Chicks—formerly The Dixie Chicks—ranks as one of the best albums released in 2020. The album contains 12 up-beat songs that weave into a powerful story told by the three artists about gender relations and politics. According to Time Magazine, who ranked the album number four in their “Top 10 Albums of 2020 List”, the album title itself is a nod to sexism in the political and private spheres of the  21st century. One of the best songs on the album is “Julianna Calm Down”, which starts soft and slow but progressively becomes more lively and fast-paced in a calling to women to feel confident, fearless and powerful amidst solidarity. Including all individuals from around the globe, never-more has this message been so important than in times like these. 

Meg Murphy

Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert

After keeping fans waiting for almost two years, Lil Uzi Vert dropped his long-awaited album Eternal Atake in March 2020. The album—which has largely been received as worth the wait—is split into three parts, representing Uzi’s three personas: Baby Pluto, Renji and Lil Uzi Vert. The album espouses Uzi’s familiar sound while taking listeners on an alien experience, following Uzi as he is abducted by aliens and travels through space. All in all, this album has lived up to the hype. Every song is fast-paced, futuristic and cohesive: favourite tracks are “Silly Watch” and “Homecoming.”

Alyssa Di Sabatino

Folklore by Taylor Swift 

While I spent the majority of my time during lockdown eating sleeves of Oreos and binging too many Netflix shows, Taylor Swift created an absolutely stunning album that quickly became my personal favourite of hers. Without a doubt, I think Folklore is one of Swift’s strongest albums overall and the writing is where her talent truly shines through. Each song is beautiful, vivid and effortlessly captures a different story (I’m looking at you, “The Last Great American Dynasty”). A satisfying blend of romanticism and escapism, Folklore is a shift into something unique, especially for Swift. Even if you’re not a fan of her other music, I highly recommend giving this album a chance.

Emily Waitson

The Cord

Living with roommates during the pandemic

COVID-19 has drastically affected people’s everyday lives, including living arrangements and the problems that are likely to arise because of it. 

The pandemic has caused more people, especially students, to move back home with their families. 

Roommates have had to navigate these unprecedented circumstances while following COVID-19 protocols and the majority of post-secondary education is taking place virtually, altering people’s daily routines. 

With more time spent at home during a high period of stress for many, conflict, at least in some form, is fairly common and can be expected, especially when living with other people. 

Keira Rafalski, the early resolution support coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University, is available for Laurier students who are struggling or are in need of advice regarding conflict resolution strategies. 

Her work centres on the interpersonal relationship with roommates.

“What I do when a student comes to me and says, ‘I’m having a problem with my roommates’ or ‘I’ve been trying to have these tough conversations with people and they’re just not listening to me,’ [is] a lot of different things … I meet with them and have a chat to figure out what’s going on, [to] really understand their experience, the impact and what resolution would look like for them,” Rafalski said. 

“We need to know what they want out of this. And then what I do, if they want to enter into that mediation process, I reach out to the other people involved. So if it’s a living situation, I reach out to the other Laurier students and let them know that this person has spoken with and is interested in resolving the conflict.” 

“I meet with each of them individually, and then we all come together. Sometimes it’s just two students and myself, sometimes I’ve had up to four students who all live together… and they really build the conversation, I just guide it in a really positive way. It’s a place for them to have a safe talk,” she said. 

An important part of this process is staying on track and using it as a space to have a productive conversation that leads to a helpful outcome. 

“It’s not a place just to vent. People will get things off their chest, but it’s about saying ‘okay, now what are we going to do with that?’ We’re really resolution focused … even if they have different resolutions, we talk about and co-create what they can do to resolve and what they can do going forward,” Rafalski said. 

Students are often surprised at how beneficial and unchallenging the mediation process can be and there are other tools available for people who are trying to work through different kinds of problems. For those who are experiencing issues with t heir significant others, family members, non-Laurier roommates or just don’t feel comfortable including them in the same conversation, personal coaching can be very useful. 

“It teaches people how to have their own conversations. The second support that I offer to students is a one-on-one conflict coaching,” Rafalski said. 

“There’s no limit of the sessions. We do all sorts of things. Usually I meet with them and just find out what’s going on, what they’re hoping to achieve [and] what they’ve done todate that hasn’t worked.”

Often, the most common problems Rafalski sees are rooted in house rules and a lack of healthy communication and setting personal boundaries. 

“It’s because they can’t just sit down together and talk about it, and then it grows. That’s when they start to feel isolated and excluded,” Rafalski said. 

While Rafalski is not meeting with people in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, she is still available for phone calls or video chats through Microsoft Teams or Zoom. “There’s so much value in seeing the person when you’re going through those conversations. I do really encourage people to show up face-to-face,” Rafalski said.

It’s crucial for students to know what resources are available to them on campus, especially during a pandemic when basic parts of people’s routines are made more challenging and stressful. 

“What I really think is important that students know, is that this office does exist. I will never turn anybody away. I chat with everybody because I find that sometimes people don’t know how to tell me what they need until we actually have a conversation,” Rafalski said. 

Rafalski also provided The Cord with additional conflict resolution strategies below.

How to have a difficult conversation:

  1. Start by thinking about what the issue really is. You and your roommates might be arguing a lot, but what is at the core of the issue?
  2. Have the conversation in person. Email or text can be misunderstood easily.
  3. Start by using the facts. What could be seen and heard is a fact. By starting with the facts it allows the other person’s defensiveness to go down.
  4. Next, explain your story. How did you feel or how were you impacted are important to share so the other person knows why this is important to you.
  5. Then ask for their input. A significant part of a successful difficult conversation is giving the space for all involved to contribute to a shared understanding of the situation.
  6. Finally, agree on what you will each do next.What will you each do to help this situation? Consider if anything else needs to change to prevent further conflicts from happening.

Tips for resolving conflict:

  1. Stop, take a breath and get grounded. Put into perspective this is something you can work through.
  2. Be mindful of your non-verbal communication and behaviours that could be unknowingly exacerbating the conflict.
  3. Consider there is more than just your perspective in the matter. Be empathetic to other people involved and open to hearing from them about how they have been impacted. Really hear what they are saying and ask questions to better understand.
  4. Take responsibility for your part.
  5. Be open to engaging in dialogue about resolution. Present your ideas and ask for others’ ideas. Try to find a resolution that feels good to everyone involved. Be prepared that each of you may have to give up something to get a successful resolution.

The Cord

Researchers at Laurier trialing antiviral drug found to be effective at blocking two strains of coronavirus

♦Contributed image

A team of researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University has been developing an antiviral drug aimed at boosting the body’s innate immune response against respiratory infections such as COVID-19. 

This drug, code-named AntiV♦ during its development, has been shown to boost the body’s natural immune response to viruses such as COVID-19, preventing infection and replication in healthy lung cells for up to two weeks.

The Laurier team, which includes Stephanie DeWitte-Orr, an associate professor of health sciences and biology, postdoctoral fellows Tamiru Alkie and Shawna Semple and Kristof Jenik, a PhD candidate, has been working on this project since May 2020. 

In lab conditions, the drug is put onto a nanoparticle, provided by Glysantis Inc., a biotechnology startup in Guelph, which has allowed for a significantly improved deployment of the drug.

“What that does is it puts a lot of stimulant in a very small space, and then we give that to the lung cells, and it’s a really robust inducer of the innate immune response,” DeWitte-Orr said.

Antiviral drugs such as AntiV differ from vaccines in the way that they affect how the body responds to pathogens such as COVID-19. Antivirals affect the innate immune response, and vaccines affect the adaptive immune response. 

“The immune system is broken up into two parts: there’s the innate and then there’s the adaptive immune response,” DeWitte-Orr said.

“A vaccine is a piece of the virus, or killed virus … that’s introduced into the body, [which] activates the adaptive immune response to remember the virus. Then, when you’re actually infected with the virus, your adaptive immune response remembers that and kills the virus quickly. That’s a memory response.” 

“A drug does not activate memory. A drug is either something that you give before or during an infection to stop [that] infection. So drugs are helpful in instances where there is no vaccine, or where the vaccine is not useful in a certain population, or when a vaccine no longer works within a certain population,” she said.

There are a significant number of applications for this drug, especially in vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, or immune-compromised individuals. 

An antiviral drug that broadly targets the body’s innate immune response means that, unlike other drugs which target specific viruses, or parts of them, this drug will encourage the body’s immune system to do what it does naturally, according to DeWitte-Orr.  

“The [other] nice thing about using an innate immune stimulant is that it’s not specific to any virus strain. Because the innate immune response is a general response, it triggers really quickly, and it blocks any virus.”

What this means is that AntiV could potentially be used as a supplementary, preventative treatment for a broad range of coronaviral or other respiratory infections.

Now, the Laurier research team will work with scientists from Winnipeg to develop the next stage of the drug’s research, exposing the drug to SARS-CoV-2, the most common current strain of the coronavirus. 

“We’re also creating [three-dimensional] lung cultures, [so] we’re going to be testing the drug in a more natural human lung environment in vitro. We’re also working towards trying the drug in animals—we’ve done a little bit of safety testing in animals, and it’s safe,” DeWitte-Orr said. 

“But now, we need to figure out delivery and [look] at dosage and timing in an animal model.”

The Cord

77 COVID cases in Waterloo Region reported since Monday: Dec 1 COVID-19 update

Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 77 cases of COVID-19 since Monday. There are currently 561 active cases in the region, 27 people hospitalised and nine of those 27 in intensive care units. 

In the month of November, there were over 1,400 cases of COVID-19 reported in Waterloo Region. 

November’s total amounts to 37 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases since March.

The number of active outbreaks in the region has risen to 25. 

Ontario reported 1,707 cases on Tuesday, with 14,524 active cases confirmed across the province. According to CBC, the new infections have pushed the seven-day average of cases to 1,670, marking a record high in numbers so far. 

Grand River Hospital has temporarily postponed non-essential surgeries, as the ICU is currently at full capacity. The hospital has recently seen a surge in COVID-19 and non-COVID critical care patients. 

Health officials are urging people in the community to follow provincial guidelines by only celebrating the holidays with immediate family this year. 

“Residents should only celebrate holidays with people in their own households,” Region of Waterloo Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said in a statement to CTV News. 

The region is currently in the “red tier” in accordance with Ontario’s COVID-19 regulations, which limits indoor gatherings and the restrictions put in place at local restaurants and fitness facilities. 

According to updated guidelines, children aren’t allowed to sit on Santa’s lap for photos this year, and they are required to be physically distanced.  

Premier Doug Ford has encouraged residents to stay home, forgo get-togethers with extended family and not to host or attend any holiday parties, regardless of the zone a city is in. 

Close-proximity social gatherings pose a higher risk for spreading COVID-19, especially if people are removing masks to eat. 

However, people who live alone are permitted to join one other household. 

The Cord

Demonstrators gather in Waterloo Town Square for anti-mask “freedom rally”

♦Photo by Eva Ou

An anti-lockdown “freedom rally” took place in Waterloo Town Square on Saturday afternoon, despite the rally reportedly being moved to Dundas Square in Toronto.

By mid-afternoon, approximately two dozen people were reported to have gathered uptown to protest the provincial COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. 

The rally was a cause for concern for many businesses uptown, who were taking precautions in the case that they would be targeted by protestors. 

Zero Waste Bulk, a sustainable grocery store in uptown Waterloo, warned customers from visiting their store on Saturday, stating that they might have been named on a “supposed hit list” by protestors because of their compliance with mask mandates. 

“We’re not 100% sure what will happen on Saturday, but we’d rather be safe with precautions and warning others to be vigilant than sorry!” the statement posted on Instagram read. 

Most protestors in attendance were not wearing masks or physically distancing between one another, but the protest has largely been reported as peaceful. The Waterloo Regional Police who were on hand have not reported any major incidents. 

Some protestors were wielding signs that voiced their outrage with COVID-19 restrictions, some of which read, “Please seek the truth,” “I’m not killing you by breathing” and “no more lockdowns … no mandatory vaccines.” 

Another sign read, “my body, my choice,” a slogan which is generally associated with feminist movements. 

The crowd—which was dispersed around the skating rink and along King Street—was predominantly middle-aged, with some families with children in attendance. 

One protestor yelled criticisms of the government and Prime Minister Trudeau and warned against a “reset,” drawing on a conspiracy theory that claims that the pandemic is a cover for world governments to restructure and enact a “New World Order.”

“I’m protesting that my government is lying to the citizens of my nation about the risk factor involved with contracting the virus,” protestor Shannon Charlebois said. 

“I’m protesting people [that] comply without seeking the truth. I’m all for masks; if you want to wear a mask, that’s great. If you’ve looked at data that tells you that a piece of material is going to save your life, then you’re entitled to that opinion,” Charlebois added. 

Public Health lists mask-wearing as a practice “that can help to prevent the infectious respiratory droplets of an unknowingly infected person from coming into contact with other people outside the home.”

Waterloo Region is currently under red “prevent” restrictions. According to Public Health, the region has surpassed 500 active COVID-19 cases. 

The region reported 554 active cases on Monday, Nov. 30—the highest number since the start of the pandemic in March.

The Cord

What is missing from this season of “The Bachelorette”

♦Graphic by Jamie Mere

Before getting into the drama of The Bachelorette, you’re going to want at least one glass of wine. I would recommend a cheap and light bottle that can easily be chugged, just so we can match the attitudes of all the contestants’ drinking habits on the show. 

The first few weeks of this season are one for the books in Bachelorette history. Due to COVID-19, they all had to quarantine for weeks—all while already in a bubble. Because of the circumstances, fans saw Clare as a promising contender to find her one true love despite being the oldest bachelorette  at thirty-nine.

The thing with Clare is I don’t think she understood the rules completely, I guess the host, Chris Harrison didn’t clarify, as she was supposed to show at least some interest in all of them, and not only the model and ex-athlete.

Within the first few dates with over 20 guys, she found love at first sight with a guy named Dale, who may not have had the same motive at the time. 

Yet, it took only four episodes for Clare to decide she fell hard for Dale, both agreeing to leave the competition to start their lives together. This is not what this show ever plans on happening. She thought she found love and that’s good for her—but not good for long-term television. 

During this, Clare acted like she had no sympathy for the other guys trying to find love. As soon as they left the resort, the new bachelorette, Tayshia, got to meet all the guys who had dealt with Clare’s drama.

Another aspect that is completely different due to COVID-19 are the dates, since they cannot leave the resort bubble they are in. This means the dates are lower quality than previous seasons due to them not being able to leave the resort. You can tell producers are struggling with ideas. 

With Tayshia making her first appearances and going on dates with all the guys, it is obvious how much more effort she put into these guys than Clare did. Tayshia also takes no bullshit from any of the guys and has given almost every guy — even if she shouldn’t — lots of energy.

Out of all of my picks for the guys who have been impressive this season, Ivan definitely fits into that category. Previously on last week’s episode, they had a one-on-one date in Tayshia’s suite, which included playing the floor is lava and ordering room service — what a date!

Things didn’t get steamy until Ivan started talking about the racial injustices he has experienced coming from his brother. Ivan advocated the social media movement around Black Lives Matter, acknowledging that all of society has to be more vocal with this sort of activism, which Tayshia agreed with. 

For one of the contestants to discuss such a heavy topic is very impressive, given what I usually assume about the intelligence of people on this show — one group-date challenge included a contestant that went to Harvard failing to spell the word limousine.

The season has been filled with drama, not just from the bachelorettes but from all the male participants, as they all carry different maturity levels, all having started some sort of drama amongst themselves. It will be intense to see what will happen in the following episodes, especially with the season being delayed a few weeks.

Global News: Kitchener

How COVID-19 has changed the way families think about long-term care in Ontario

As part of the series Care Gone Wrong, Global News looks at how families may be changing their opinions on nursing homes and the feasibility of caring for loved ones at home.

Global News: Kitchener

Chinese vaccine company executives worked in program now targeted by Western intelligence agencies

In August, the NRC announced its collaboration with CanSino had ended because Chinese officials had failed to send CanSino’s vaccine for testing in Canada. 

CTV News Kitchener

Hospitals pause some non-urgent surgeries, procedures due to COVID-19 pandemic

Grand River Hospital has temporarily paused some non-urgent elective surgeries as COVID-19 cases continue to impact the hospital.

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Death shocks U of T student body, prompts calls for change to mental health programming

On Nov. 2, 2020 first year student Keshav Mayya died by suicide at an off-campus location.

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Global News: Kitchener

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Cambridge fire station after 2 positive coronavirus tests

“Cambridge Fire is following established pandemic procedures and protective measures are in place," the city reports. 

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New COVID-19 outbreak in Waterloo Region connected to skating class

Waterloo Public Health reported 77 more positive tests for the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total number of cases in the area to 3,663.

Global News: Kitchener

Motorist in Burlington, Ont. using folding chair as driver’s seat facing charges, says police

A patrol officer stopped the Ford Edge just after 11 a.m. on Appleby line on Monday in Burlington, Ont., and had the vehicle impounded.

Global News: Kitchener

Guelph reports 27 new COVID-19 cases, but active cases fall to 50

After 222 COVID-19 cases in November, Wellington County reported three new cases on Tuesday, raising its total case count to 344.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario Human Rights Commission to look at anti-Indigenous racism in lacrosse

The commission says it will meet with Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, and the Canadian Lacrosse Association in the coming months.

Global News: Kitchener

23-year-old woman killed in collision on Hwy 7/8 in Kitchener

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CTV News Kitchener

From booster shots to side-effects: Your COVID-19 vaccine questions answered

CTVNews.ca posed reader questions to infectious disease experts to get answers on the many uncertainties surrounding a potential COVID-19 vaccine and its rollout across Canada.