WELLINGTON COUNTY – Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis has continued to serve its clientele during the pandemic, but it’s been a rocky road, says the organization’s executive director.
“It’s been a tough 16 months,” Sly Castaldi said in an interview.
“The toughest 16 months of my career. We tried to make the best possible decisions but there was constant worry and stress.
“The pandemic has taken a toll on leadership in all sorts of community organizations.”
The biggest challenge when the pandemic began was at the emergency shelter, Marianne’s Place, which has been operating at 50 per cent capacity because of distancing and gathering restrictions.
“We utilized hotels for some clients – that created its own challenges too,” she said. “We just kept going as best as we could.”
There are 30 beds at the shelter. Families bunk together in private rooms and that continued through the pandemic.
But for singles it’s usually a shared bedroom and that was reduced to just one person per room.
Communal areas, like the kitchen and dining room, were closed. Staff brought prepared meals to clients, which changed up operations quite a bit.Related Articles
- Women in abusive relationships at greater risk with social distancing measures
Communal living, where people can easily get into conversations and develop bonds over shared experiences, can be positive and part of moving forward for women fleeing domestic violence. That, too, had to stop.
“It wasn’t the same experience in the shelter,” Castaldi said.
“Now we’ve opened the dining room. Every unit has its own table, but it’s still not like pre-pandemic.
“But vaccines are here, and guidelines are loosening. That’s making it better.”
Castaldi said the agency will never require clients to be vaccinated, but they strongly encourage it.
“That’s a decision they have to make for themselves. For us safety means masking and physical distancing. They (safety measures) will be with us for some time,” she said.
Three additional washrooms have also been added at the shelter allowing the organization to open three more beds.
“We are always at 100 per cent capacity and this past year there has been added pressure. We had tough decisions to make to prioritize clients,” she said.
“We never had to do that in the past.”
Castaldi said the shelter was built in 1993 when best practice was communal living – shared bedrooms and washrooms and communal cooking and living.
“That was the mindset,” she said. “We never imagined a pandemic.♦
“Going forward there are pandemic lessons for future builds,” she said, adding private rooms will likely become the new standard.
Outreach programs pivoted to virtual “and they helped women stay connected,” she said.
But there were no more drop-in programs, no more picking up clothes or household items.
Staff worked from home and met clients virtually. And there was an increase in calls to the crisis line.
“We understood and supported the stay-at-hone measures. You have to do your part,” Castaldi said.
“But that didn’t work for women trapped in abusive, violent relationships, or children living with abuse or addiction.”
Women in Crisis did give away about $20,000 worth of gift cards, so clients could still cover some basic needs.
Castaldi lauded Women in Crisis staff members, who were able to respond quickly to the changes brought on by the pandemic and the challenges of working from home.
“In the beginning, things were changing daily, and it was hard to hold on to all the moving pieces,” she said.
“I’m very grateful and proud of my staff. We did a pretty good job at keeping people safe and supported.”
And now? That remains a big question mark.
As it can, the shelter will take on more clients. When they’re able, counsellors will start holding group and one-on-one sessions in person again.
When it’s safe to do so, Women in Crisis will also hold its annual fundraisers. While some provincial and federal pandemic funding was allotted to the agency, it has missed the fundraising dollars.
At the outset of the pandemic, many people worried that families living with domestic violence were in greater peril during stay-at-home orders.
Castaldi said it’s hard to know if there will be a surge in clients along with the lifting of restrictions.
But whether things get better or worse in the world, there’s no need to remain in a dangerous domestic situation, she said.
“We’re here to help,” Castaldi said. “We’ve been here all along.”
Information about programs can be found a www.gwwomenincrisis.org. The 24-hour crisis line is 1-800-265-7233.
The post It never stopped helping, but it’s been a tough year for Women in Crisis appeared first on Wellington Advertiser.
WATERLOO — Every day, thousands of people in the region drive past an impressive concrete-and-glass building in Waterloo where one of the world’s top think-tanks quietly goes about its business.
As the Centre for International Governance Innovation marks its 20th anniversary this weekend, its president marvels at the audacity of vision that created such a place in Waterloo.
“CIGI must be the only think-tank that I can think of that is not in either a capital city or a major commercial centre,” said president Rohinton Medhora, who has headed the non-profit since 2012.
But as the pandemic has made all too clear, the world is truly global, and events that happen on the other side of the world can have a huge impact here in Waterloo Region.
Its network of more than 90 research fellows grapple with the kinds of issues that dominate headlines everyday — questions such as how to tax global digital giants like Facebook and Google; how to regulate the internet; the ethical use of big data and artificial intelligence; how to protect privacy when technology gives governments unprecedented powers to snoop on their citizens.
CIGI was created in 2001, in response to growing evidence that new ideas were needed to address a host of global problems from climate change to financial crises.
It began modestly enough in the old Waterloo-St. Jacobs railway station in Waterloo, thanks to a $30-million endowment from Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, co-CEOs of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.
Two years later it moved into the former Seagram distillery warehouse. In 2011, its current home, the award-winning, $66-million CIGI Campus, officially opened.
During its first 20 years, the centre has hosted diplomats and prime ministers, scholars, military commanders and many other experts. It has made its mark in the global marketplace of ideas, and is now ranked 30th among thousands of think-tanks worldwide.
Today, a key focus is “big tech” and the need for global rules to govern the sprawling digital universe. It’s a logical fit in a tech hub like Waterloo, where CIGI has forged several ties with local tech firms.
One think-tank can’t solve all the world’s problems, “so we have to pick our spots,” Medhora said.
Its 94 fellows, a network of academics and other experts all around the world, work with CIGI to develop policy areas that have real relevance in everyday lives.
Areas like the need for global rules around technology that can be misused for surveillance. Canada encouraged its citizens to download a smartphone app designed to alert users to possible COVID-19 exposures. In the hands of a repressive government, such technology “is basically surveillance,” Medhora notes.
“We don’t have a global compact on when tracking apps can be used and when they cannot,” he said. “Maybe we should. The right to privacy is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but we don’t know what that means in practice.”
The world also needs better regulation of intellectual property — the patents and other protections that fuel economic growth and crucial advances like the rapid development of vaccines against COVID-19.
But the same protections also can also perpetuate injustice and uneven access — most wealthy countries have vaccinated a majority of their populations, but just three per cent of Africa’s 1.2 billion people are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
At age 20, CIGI has a yearly budget of around $8 million. It has 38 employees, down from a peak of about 75 in 2019, when it was forced to lay off more than 30 people after the province slashed its funding.
Today it receives just over $162,000 in government grants, but is lucky enough to have a steady stream of revenues from its endowment, now valued at $59.2-million.
The big challenge, Medhora says, is to stay relevant, and continue addressing the pressing problems of the day.
When people drive by CIGI’s home in Waterloo, “they can know there’s a group of people inside who are actually working to make the world a better place,” Medhora says.
Catherine Thompson is a Waterloo Region-based reporter focusing on urban affairs for The Record. Reach her via email: email@example.com
WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP — Waterloo Regional Police have closed several roads near Elmira following a serious collision involving a transport truck and a car.
At least one person has been airlifted to hospital with serious injuries, police said.
Emergency services received the call just before 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Just after 9 a.m., police sent a tweet out asking drivers to avoid the area of Floradale and Listowel roads, southwest of Elmira.
Multiple people have been transported to hospital with unknown injuries.
Floradale Road has been closed at Church Street West, and Listowel Road has been blocked between Steffler Road and Three Bridges Road.
Police estimate the roads will be closed for several hours.
More to come.
The Ministry of Colleges and Universities announced on July 16 that post-secondary institutions should prepare to resume in-person instruction and on-campus activities.
Universities will still have to follow public health and workplace safety rules regarding COVID-19 including mask-wearing indoors and maintaining social distancing when possible, but schools will have more flexibility in offering university experiences including virtual and hybrid learning.
The University of Waterloo has since announced that they will be continuing with the hybrid model they previously planned for the fall 2021 term. The university is working to offer as many in-person classes as possible with required physical distancing, while also assuring that all fall term courses will finish the way they start.
UW also plans on expanding in-person experiences such as labs and libraries as public health restrictions are lifted. The university is preparing to offer access to The Centre, Health Services, Counselling Services, the bookstore, study spaces, food spaces, student clubs and recreational activities.
Residences will also be open to students, with the requirement that residents have their first dose of the vaccination with plans to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and able to provide proof of such vaccination. This decision comes after an advisory by the Region of Waterloo medical officer of health.
Other Ontario universities, such as Queen’s University, are preparing for a full return to campus for fall 2021. This return includes masks to be required indoors, but class-size limits and physical distancing requirements will depend on government-mandated restrictions. McMaster University, the University of Windsor and Seneca College are planning for a mix of online, in-person and hybrid options for learning. Seneca also announced that it would require everyone attending campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The college is also planning to offer flexible options for learning, which would allow students to choose when to attend lectures in-person and when to attend online.
When it comes to the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities requires institutions to have a Continuity of Education plan ready by September.
The post Ontario University Reopening Plans, How does UW compare to its peers? appeared first on Imprint.
KITCHENER — The pandemic has completely changed Mira Henderson’s plan for her life.
“If there hadn’t been a pandemic, I’d be in grad school or in teacher’s college,” said the 23-year-old Kitchener woman.
But instead, she’s a Waterloo business owner, running a croissant and coffee shop at the corner of King and Allen streets.
“Twice a week, I stop myself and say ‘Where am I?’ she said. “It’s happened so quickly.”
Amelia Grant couldn’t agree more. A year before COVID-19 broke, she was a wedding event planner. Her business was new and doing well but with the pandemic, weddings were initially put on hold.
“It was a nightmare for us,” said Grant.
She and her boyfriend moved in with her mother who was the primary caregiver for her 90-year-old grandmother. Her mom, Evelyn, who worked at a local flower shop for 15 years, quit because she was afraid of bringing the virus home to her elderly mother.
Evelyn pressed a bouquet of garden florals she arranged and then her daughter posted it online.
“It blew up,” said Grant, 25, who received requests from women wanting pressed floral pieces for gifts for their mothers. “We had to pivot and figure out what we wanted to do. It gave us an opportunity to work together. We wouldn’t be here if COVID hadn’t happened.”
The mother and daughter team then took a bridal bouquet and pressed the flowers, creating an artful keepsake. It, too, was popular online.
“We found this interesting niche and we were able to combine my mother’s hobby and turn it into a business,” Grant said.
Soon, they were getting requests from brides who wanted to press their bouquets as a memory of their special day.
Grant Wedding Wishes was started in January, 2021, while Henderson’s Ghost Light shop opened in August, 2020.
Both women took a risk and started their own business during a global pandemic.
Henderson, a University of Waterloo theatre arts student, started baking croissants out her of home. The first batch of croissants was made for her father’s birthday in April 2020, during the initial pandemic lockdown.
Soon she started selling them from her home. When she reached 18 dozen sold, she thought she needed a bigger kitchen.
She opened a pop-up location in The Courtyard Kitchens on Whitney Place and soon that, too, was small.
“It honestly exploded,” said Henderson, who by February had 700 orders on a Saturday morning. The lineup was around the building.
“I think it just happened because people were looking for an outing and they got excited about going out on a Saturday to get croissants,” she said. “People were looking for a pick-me-up.”
Last month, with the help of a loan from her mom and federal funding, Henderson opened a storefront location in Waterloo. She signed a five-year lease.
“The lockdown had me spinning my wheels for awhile and then I blinked and now I’m here,” Henderson said, who now has four employees.
Henderson hopes to put her love of theatre into motion by expanding, with a café by day and a bar by night where she can offer space for improv, comedy and live music.
“Our goal is to be a community building spot,” said Henderson, who has a solid following of tenants in the units above her location.
In addition to croissants, she has expanded her baked goods to include vegan croissants and tarts, and soon breakfast sandwiches and quiche.
Henderson said the pandemic forced her to see the positive.
“It is real easy to look at something as a negative. But flip it. These are the resources I have now and how can I make it work.”
Liz Monteiro is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
10:18 a.m. Ontario is reporting 226 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths. The province says nearly 21,000 tests were completed. Locally, there are 62 new cases in Toronto, 35 in Waterloo, 24 in Peel Region, 13 in York Region, 13 in Hamilton and 13 in Halton Region.
8:30 a.m. Yukon has reported its seventh death linked to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The territory's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, says in a statement that the person died in hospital Wednesday night.
He says "an unfortunate fact was this person was not immunized."
Hanley says unvaccinated Yukoners are at greatest risk from the illness.
Yukon also said Thursday it has diagnosed seven new cases as active infections rose to 80.
The territory has reported 589 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including 526 diagnosed since June 1.
7:30 a.m. British Columbia has surpassed 1,000 active cases of COVID-19 as daily infections continue to rise, particularly in parts of the province's southern Interior.
Another 204 cases have been diagnosed, pushing the number of active cases to 1,055.
A statement from the Ministry of Health shows more than half of the latest cases and overall active infections are located in the Interior Health region, where public health restrictions have been reinstated in several central Okanagan communities.
Masks are mandatory in indoor public places in those communities including Peachland, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country and the Westbank First Nation, and travel to those regions for non-essential purposes is discouraged for those who aren't fully vaccinated.
The number of people in hospital has ticked up to 51, including 20 in intensive care.
The ministry says 81 per cent of eligible people in B.C. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and just over 64 per cent have had their second shot.
6 a.m.: Israel’s prime minister has announced that the country will offer a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who have already been vaccinated.
Thursday's announcement by Naftali Bennett makes Israel the first country to offer a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to its citizens on a wide scale. The decision came at a time of rising infections and concerns that the vaccine’s efficacy dwindles over time.
Israel's president, Isaac Herzog, is to be the first to get the booster on Friday. It will be offered to the general public beginning Sunday.
5:45 a.m.: Francis Ddembe spent his pandemic working: Days in a Toronto homeless shelter, or nights in a nursing home. Or the reverse. Or both.
“Once I worked 24 straight hours. I worked 70 straight days from November to January. Sometimes you feel like you’re being sacrificed.” The only good thing about the work — besides the money he could send home to his children in Uganda — was that it filled up his days as he waited and waited for news about the refugee claim he made more than two years before. Living in limbo was maddening; at least work was a distraction.
We relied on these essential workers through the worst of the pandemic. Will Canada let them stay?
Read the full Atkinson Series story by Stephanie Nolen here.
5:30 a.m.: Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to four more areas in addition to Tokyo on Friday following record spikes in infections as the capital hosts the Olympics.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared an emergency in Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba, near Tokyo, as well as in the western city of Osaka, effective Monday until Aug. 31. Emergency measures already in place in Tokyo will be extended until the end of August, after the Olympics and well into the Paralympics which start Aug. 24.
Tokyo has reported a record increase in cases for three days in a row, including 3,865 on Thursday, before logging another 3,300 on Friday. The cases have doubled since last week, although officials say the surge is unrelated to the Olympics.
5:20 a.m.: The government of Nunavut says residents of the territory and of Arctic Quebec can now travel freely between both regions as long as they’ve been in a community for at least 14 days.
The government says people from either region must also be travelling from a community free from COVID-19.
Nunavut has been COVID-free for well over a month, while Nunavik, Quebec’s northern region, had its last case in June.
The Nunavik Regional Board of Health says the bubble only applies to people travelling by charter flight or boat, since there are no direct flights between the regions.
Nunavut residents travelling to Nunavik will be tested on arrival, while Nunavik residents travelling to Nunavut will not.
5 a.m.: Ontarians would struggle if a fourth wave of COVID-19 were to hit, possibly leading to a “fundamentally divisive point in our society,” says the co-chair of the province’s science table.
Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, a professor and the dean of the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, recently spoke at an online university event during which he took questions on everything from his opinion on the best and worst of the pandemic — vaccine efforts and school closings, respectively — to the future.
“It really depends on how we continue to drive more vaccination and how thoughtfully we relax the public health measures,” he said when asked what’s to come.
Read the full story from the Star’s Kristin Rushowy.
4:45 a.m.: The Biden administration has announced sweeping new pandemic rules for federal workers and some contractors.
It is requiring that any federal civilian worker who does not verify being fully vaccinated will be subject to universal masking, weekly testing, physical distancing from other employees and restrictions on official travel.
The guidelines are aimed at boosting vaccination rates among the millions of Americans who draw federal paychecks and to set an example for private employers around the country.
Biden said, “This is an American tragedy. People are dying who don’t have to die.”
The administration encouraged businesses to follow its lead on incentivizing vaccinations by imposing burdens on the unvaccinated. Rather than mandating that federal workers receive vaccines, the plan will make life more difficult for those who are unvaccinated to encourage them to comply.
Biden also urged state and local governments to use funds provided by the coronavirus relief package to incentivize vaccinations by offering $100 to individuals who get the shots. And he announced that small- and medium-sized businesses will receive reimbursements if they offer employees time off to get family members vaccinated.
4:30 a.m.: With coronavirus deaths rising in Myanmar, allegations are growing from residents and human rights activists that the military government, which seized control in February, is using the pandemic to consolidate power and crush opposition.
In the last week, the per capita death rate in Myanmar surpassed those of Indonesia and Malaysia to become the worst in Southeast Asia. The country’s crippled health care system has rapidly become overwhelmed with new patients sick with COVID-19.
Supplies of medical oxygen are running low, and the government has restricted its private sale in many places, saying it is trying to prevent hoarding. But that has led to widespread allegations that the stocks are being directed to government supporters and military-run hospitals.
At the same time, medical workers have been targeted after spearheading a civil disobedience movement that urged professionals and civil servants not to cooperate with the government, known as the State Administrative Council.
4 a.m.: The Toronto Blue Jays have wrapped up an extended road trip down south and finally flown north — back home to Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays are finally set to return to Toronto after the federal government granted the club a national interest travel exemption, and the team will host the Kansas City Royals on Friday night in their first game at their home stadium in nearly two years.
The Jays haven't played at Rogers Centre since Sept. 29, 2019 — an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay — due to COVID-19 restrictions that included a U.S.-Canada travel ban.
Toronto played the shortened 2020 campaign at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y., then began this season hosting home games at its spring training site in Dunedin, Fla., before returning to the home of their triple-A affiliate in June.
Jays president Mark Shapiro says the team has also received approval to treat the stadium as an outdoor venue and allow up to 15,000 fans at games — about 30 per cent of its 49,286-person capacity. Shapiro says the retractable roof will be open as long as the weather allows, and additional measures have been taken to ensure proper ventilation.
CAMBRIDGE — In one of the most dominant performances in Ontario junior boys’ golf championship history, Ottawa’s James Newton turned a one-stroke lead heading into the final round into a 13-stroke victory Thursday at Whistle Bear Golf Course.
The 17-year-old posted a 16-under-par score over four rounds at the par-72 course, shooting 67 Thursday to follow rounds of 68, 67 and 70 the first three days.
“It feels pretty incredible,” he said after sinking his final shot, taking a moment to sit down in the clubhouse before another round of photos.
The junior boys’ championship, awarded to the top under-19 player in the province, has been contested since 1923 in Ontario.
Looking over the trophy, the likes of Albin Choi, Gerry Kesselring and Mike Weir jump out. Weir, the winner of the 2003 Masters tournament, is exactly the career Newtown said he hopes to emulate.
Newton committed to Rutgers University last month, and will be competing in the NCAA for the New Jersey school starting in 2022. After that, his plan is to head to the PGA Tour.
“That’s the dream,” he said. “I’m going to try my hardest, put in the work, and hopefully play in some majors and see where it goes.”
Following Whistle Bear tradition, Newton celebrated the win with a dunk in a waterfall — don’t worry, he made sure to take his shoes off before jumping in. He made the walk back to the clubhouse sporting his new championship robe.
“I didn’t know until the start of the last round (about the waterfall),” he said with a grin. One of the club members told him as he walked by that he wouldn’t forget that experience any time soon.
It was a tournament defined by the elements, with the competitors battling rain, humidity and strong winds throughout the week. Rain Thursday morning delayed the start of the final round by about 70 minutes.
Finding himself tied for the lead at the end of the first round with a 68, Newton never looked back, taking sole possession of the lead after round two and riding it through.
He had to fend off the likes of Ben MacLean, his co-leader after round one who was just a shot back heading into Thursday. But an unfortunate day with a score of seven-over 79 dropped MacLean out of contention and he finished the tournament in second place at minus-three.
Galt Country Club’s Graem Costigan put together a strong finish to his final round to end the tournament in a four-player tie for third place at even par.
Guelph’s Tyler May finished the tournament one shot back of third at one-over par, dropping down the leaderboard on the final day with a score of 78.
And Whistle Bear’s own Matthew Whitehead finished the tournament tied for 14th with a score of plus-four.
Now, the province’s top junior golfers will set their sites on the Canadian championships next week in Quebec.
Newton’s on the hunt for another championship.
“That’s the next one on the schedule,” he said. “So, the plan is to just try to keep this going.”
Robert Williams is a Waterloo Region-based reporter for The Record. Reach him via email: email@example.com
ABOYNE – In a sign of a return to normal, the Wellington County Museum is hosting its summer concert series after foregoing the annual live music series last year.
With only three dates remaining (July 29, Aug. 5 and 12) museum program assistant Emily Foster hopes new people will join familiar faces across the front lawn of the Wellington Place’s Heritage Barn.
Recent show nights have been “really well received” Foster said, with performances from Shannon Kinsbury and Lucas Tensen and the Boo Radley Project bringing out around 75 people each night.
New this year, thanks to a collaborate effort from Taste Real, pre-packaged meals from local restaurants—including The Breadalbane, Fergies and Elora Brewing—can be purchased when ordering tickets online from the county’s website.
“We really wanted to support local restaurants as much as possible, especially after sort of the year that we’ve been having with the pandemic, so being able to bring this in has been really great,” Foster said.
Tickets/meals must be ordered the Monday before show night and are delivered to the museum to be picked up by show-goers on arrival.
Alcoholic beverages are also available for consumption at the property.
With tickets (but no meals) available at the door, Foster said the concerts make for a great last-minute evening out.
“It’s a great date night for anybody who’s looking … or something to go to hang out with friends and family,” she said, suggesting a lawn chair or picnic blanket and perhaps an umbrella to enjoy the rain-or-shine performances.
The lineup features: Celtic and folk band Steel City Rovers from Hamilton, the Fergus Pipe Band, and Fergus’ Jack Walzak.
Tickets are $10 each, regardless of age.
For more information and tickets visit wellington.ca/en/discover/mus-summer-concert-series.aspx.
The post Live music returns to Wellington County Museum with summer concert series appeared first on Wellington Advertiser.
Reader warning: this news story contains detailed information about a woman’s death and may be triggering from some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
KITCHENER — Two Waterloo Regional Police officers who interacted with a woman hours before her death late last year will not face criminal charges, the Special Investigations Unit has determined.
The investigation relates to an interaction police had with a woman on Nov. 21, 2020. That evening, at 11:10, a 43-year-old woman called 911 asking for help. Through slurred speech, she explained to the call-taker that her ex-boyfriend was a drug dealer who told her she only had five to six months to live. She said she feared for her life.
Police arrived at her building in the area of Joseph Street to check on her and make sure her unit was secure. The officers left at around midnight. After attending her apartment, the two subject officers said the woman appeared fine and calm, and didn’t express any suicidal tendencies, the SIU report reads.
Not long after the officers left, the woman called 911 again. She called the emergency line several times, reiterating her fear of her boyfriend. At some point during those repeated calls, an officer called her and warned her against making repeated calls to 911. The officer told her if she kept making the calls and harassing the 911 call-takers, she would be arrested, the SIU report reads.
The woman then told the 911 operator that she had taken prescription pills and had consumed alcohol. She told the operator she wanted to die. It was at this point she was transferred over to a counsellor at Here 24/7.
Paramedics were dispatched to the scene but couldn’t get into the building. The counsellor stayed on the line with the woman, but by 1:25 a.m. her breathing had become laboured and she wasn’t answering any questions. She told the counsellor she could hear someone at the door.
At 1:49 a.m. police were back on scene and requesting help from fire services to get the door of the apartment open. By 2:04 a.m., the door was forced open and responders began CPR, but the woman was pronounced dead.
The SIU considered two criminal charges in their investigation: failure to provide the necessaries of life, and criminal negligence causing death.
SIU Director Joseph Martino wrote in both instances, when officers attended the apartment and when they called the woman back to warn her against repeatedly calling 911, it wasn’t yet known that she was considering suicide. If officers were presented with evidence to suggest she was suicidal, “greater discretion would have been in order,” he wrote.
“On this record, there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that the officers did not conduct themselves with due care and regard for the Complainant’s well-being.”
The SIU is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents where there is a serious injury, including sexual assault allegations, or death in cases involving police.
Chris Seto is a Waterloo Region-based reporter for The Record. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KITCHENER — A man accused of killing a fellow migrant worker in Wilmot Township made a brief court appearance on Thursday, exactly one year from the date of his arrest.
Alex Lopez-Noriega, 34, was charged with first-degree murder last July 29 in the death of Luis Gabriel Cahuec Moran, 35, a father of three.
His body was found in a farm field on Erbs Road near St. Agatha. Police said the victim had significant head trauma.
After the body was found, police warned people not to pick up anyone on the road seeking a ride. Nine hours later, police arrested Lopez-Noriega in downtown Kitchener.
The victim and the accused were migrant workers who came here from the same small town in Guatemala.
Thursday’s routine court appearance, by video from Maplehurst jail in Milton, lasted about a minute. Video court is used to give brief updates on cases where the accused is in custody.
Lopez-Noriega usually has access to a Spanish interpreter in court, but didn’t this time.
A justice of the peace asked him if he knew enough English for the brief appearance.
“A little bit,” the accused said. “I try.”
Lopez-Noriega was told he will return to video court on Aug. 19.
“OK, thank you so much,” he said. “Have a good day.”
KITCHENER — There are flashlights, and then there’s the supernova-in-a-tube that’s landed the team at Hacksmith Industries another Guinness world record.
At over two metres (seven feet) in length, and using a full-size garbage can as a component, this bad boy, dubbed the “Nitebrite 300,” isn’t going to land on store shelves any time soon.
And that’s just as well, because looking into the light would be a terrible mistake.
“It’s blindingly bright,” said its creator, Chris Thiele. “Especially on white surfaces, it just reflects so much light that it’s like staring at the sun.”
Equipped with 300 LEDs, it can produce more than 500,000 lumens — roughly five times brighter than what you’d observe by looking straight at the sun from the earth’s surface.
By comparison, the brightest flashlight on the market today uses 18 LEDs that produced a maximum of about 78,000 lumens when tested in the Hacksmith lab, Thiele said.
Thiele spent close to three months building this monstrosity, one of the fantastical gadgets that’s garnered Hacksmith leader James Hobson and his Kitchener-based team a huge following on YouTube.
Guinness World Records created a new category for their flashlight, bestowing the title of “brightest outsized flashlight/torch” on the device. It’s Hacksmith’s second Guinness title, having claimed the world’s first retractable proto-lightsaber after turning Star Wars science fiction into reality last year.
With nearly eight million views to date, the flashlight video takes viewers through the construction and engineering process and comical testing phase. Set up at a darkened football field, the flashlight turns night into day, prompting a team member to shout “Don’t point it at the houses!” which, in their defence, were off to the side and out of the line of sight.
Strapped to the roof of a car, it turns a pitch-black, out-of-the-way industrial road into a wall of white.
“It was amazing how much light was thrown and how bright it looked outside. It looked like a postapocalyptic world where the sun ... ends up coming way too close to the earth’s atmosphere,” Thiele said.
Did anyone see them and wonder what the heck was going on, or call police?
“I don’t believe so,” laughed Thiele. “The whole idea was to get in and get out as fast as possible, just in case.”
The ridiculously-oversized flashlight has three settings, like many of its much-smaller cousins — low, high and turbo. It’s limited to seven seconds at a time in turbo mode, though; the wires heat up, with so much current being drawn from the six lithium polymer batteries.
“The thing was smoking from the inside at one point, because the wires themselves were melting the insulation around the wires. So that needed some redesign.”
So the inevitable question — why build this? Well, why not?
“Sometimes just rising to the challenge is enough to do something like that,” said Thiele, who joined Hacksmith about a year ago.
The team’s videos attract millions of viewers, fuelling the sponsorships and advertising and merchandise revenue that fund the 21-person enterprise.
But there’s something else that guides them, too, as they mix education with entertainment.
“A lot of us makers on YouTube channels just do things and it fascinates people,” Thiele said. “And I think that’s really the core of what we’re trying to accomplish here at Hacksmith Industries — to inspire the next generation to work on things, to not ask why so much and to just kind of do it.”
Brent Davis is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach him via email: email@example.com
WATERLOO REGION — Waterloo Region has surpassed the province in vaccination against COVID-19 after four challenging months behind the curve.
“This is really good news,” said Zahid Butt, a public health professor at the University of Waterloo. “You have to keep the momentum going.”
New daily COVID cases have dropped 73 per cent in July. But with 20 new cases reported Thursday, infections are spreading at twice the Ontario rate as the region battles the highly-contagious Delta variant.
The latest data shows that after accepting 765,720 jabs in arms since December, the population of almost 590,000 has moved slightly ahead of the Ontario vaccination pace.
The lead is small at 131 shots given to every 100 residents, compared to 130 shots given to residents elsewhere in the province.
But it’s a big turnaround from May when the population fell six shots behind the province per 100 people and the vaccine rollout went into the ditch.
For two weeks in May the province temporarily diverted scarce doses to stamp out hot spots elsewhere. This left residents facing a shortfall that peaked at 32,650 doses. Vaccine-hunting surged as more than 900 desperate residents took to the roads every day to find shots elsewhere.
The fallout went beyond inconvenience. Low vaccination coupled with low testing in the spring left this region ill-positioned to detect and fend off the Delta variant as it emerged.
In June the variant surged among the regional population, leading the medical officer of health to temporarily stall economic reopening. By July 2 this region was a hot spot seeing new COVID cases at six times the provincial rate.
Butt said the lesson from May is to be careful about how long to prioritize a hot spot if it means leaving other places vulnerable.
Data shows the region surpassed Ontario July 17 after trailing in vaccination for 126 days. This transition became evident Wednesday when the public health unit added 8,700 vaccinations from the past several months in a data update.
These doses were always counted in provincial records but had not been counted as local vaccinations because they were wrongly assigned to a different community or weren’t assigned to any community, said Sharon Ord, a spokesperson for the vaccine rollout.
Pharmacist Kelly Grindrod credits the leap forward to increased vaccine supply beginning in June that allowed the rollout to expand capacity.
“The work that started in early June had the most obvious benefit in mid-July,” said Grindrod, a pharmacy professor at the University of Waterloo.
By Wednesday this region led the province slightly in single doses with almost 72 per cent of the total population receiving at least one vaccine dose.
The region is about to catch up to the province in residents who are fully vaccinated with two doses. Almost 59 per cent of the total population is fully immunized.
Full vaccination is needed to fight off the Delta variant, Butt said. More vaccinations help the region reduce new cases, control outbreaks, and respond to the reopening of schools and campuses in September, he said.
Virologist Stephanie DeWitte-Orr of Wilfrid Laurier University says a “push for increased vaccination could also increase people’s vigilance, helping people make better choices regarding social distancing and masking, another factor to reduce new cases.”
The latest numbers show 87,700 eligible residents who are still without vaccination, aged 12 and older. Children younger than 12 are not yet approved for vaccines.
Butt said the region is smart to ease barriers and make it easier for thousands of stragglers and doubters to get jabbed as the pace of vaccination plummets here and across Ontario.
Efforts include accepting walk-ins, extending hours and locations for vaccine clinics, and using mobile teams to take doses into neighbourhoods.
“The pandemic is actually becoming the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Butt said. “The thing to think about now is how to get those people vaccinated who are on the fence.”
Doses given by mobile teams are few but valuable because they target areas with a higher risk of disease, Grindrod said.
Jeff Outhit is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WATERLOO REGION — More people in Waterloo Region are reaching out for help with eating disorders during the pandemic, and issues with food could become even more prevalent as life returns to normal and people become anxious to lose their “pandemic pounds.”
Referrals for eating disorders programs at the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington reports have tripled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen an increase in referrals and an increase in complexity with our clients,” said eating disorders manager Kelly Forster.
Usually a client would be dealing with an eating disorder alone, but now they’re also struggling with other conditions such as depression, anxiety or suicide.
Such a significant increase in calls for help means a longer wait list — climbing from one to three months to upwards of a year. Unfortunately, the situation can get worse for people if they have to wait a long time for support.
“Sometimes you want to catch people in that moment,” Forster said. “That feeling could be very different one year down the road.”
There’s no simple answer for why more people are dealing with eating disorders.
“It’s layered, like everything with mental health,” Forster said. “I think the main things would be a decrease in the ability to support positive mental health.”
Socializing and activities, such as team sports for school-age children, were all out of reach when everything needed to be shutdown to curb the spread of the virus.
Taking away those positive outlets leaves people more vulnerable to poor mental health, and coping strategies to deal with the stress and anxiety can be maladaptive.
There’s also the lack of control people feel during the pandemic when so much is uncertain, including when they can once again enjoy all the things they love to do. An eating disorder, Forster said, can give people a sense of control.
If people are worried about their relationship with food, they should reach out to a friend, family member or professional for support. Understand that, especially now during the pandemic, that things will be different.
“It’s really important for people to essentially be compassionate with themselves,” Forster said. “Nothing is going to look the same, but that’s OK.”
It’s not helpful for people to be rigid about what they eat.
Sometimes when a person begins to develop an eating disorder, it can look appropriate and it’s celebrated, Forster said. But often that carefully managed eating is a grey area that could “go down a dark path.”
That’s the same with any diet, and soon many people may be looking for ways to shed that extra weight gained during the pandemic. Complaints about “pandemic pounds” that came with all the bread baking and comfort food eating are widespread on social media.
“We might be on the cusp of a lot of people trying to diet,” Forster said.
She said there’s evidence to show there’s a better outcome when people feel good about themselves and don’t focus on weight or following strict rules about eating.
“Flexibility around food is essential.”
Contact Here 24-7, the single access point to mental health, addictions and crisis services in the region, at 1-844-437-3247 or here247.ca. Find more information and support for eating disorders at nedic.ca.
Johanna Weidner is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach her via email: email@example.com
WATERLOO REGION — Olympic medals really do inspire youth to be more active, University of Waterloo researchers have found.
Luke Potwarka, a professor in the department of recreation and leisure studies, and his team analyzed the effect of Canadian medals won at the 2012 Olympic Games on the activity levels of youth in the medal winners’ hometowns.
Usually studies of the trickle-down effects of major sporting events are conducted in host countries on a countrywide level, with little regional differentiation.
“Event stakeholders and elected officials often make anecdotal claims that watching the Olympics will inspire people to become more active,” Potwarka wrote in an email to The Record.
“Our research team wanted to move beyond the anecdotal and hypothetical; and look for evidence of these effects. We really wanted to start to look for these effects in the hometowns of athletes that won medals.
“We think our findings show that our Olympic athletes can inspire hometown youth to participate.”
Potwarka’s team analyzed data from the Canadian Community Health Survey from Statistics Canada which produces data on the amount of leisure-time physical activity for multiple demographics and regions.
Leisure-time physical activity is defined as any activity that involves moving the body and expends energy during time that is not related to work, school or other obligations.
Potwarka’s team analyzed the data on leisure-time physical activity for youth aged 12 to 19 from Statistics Canada two years before the Olympic Games, during, and two years after.
The study found that a medal of any colour won by an athlete increased youth activity in that athlete’s hometown — the area where the medallist reported residing — especially for male youth.
Potwarka postulates that medal-winning athletes from shared hometowns inspire youth because of their shared connections, such as access to the same community sports programs, shared facilities available or possible shared coaches.
Potwarka believes the hometown connection helps youth feel the athletes’ achievements are attainable and personally relevant, and the media attention given to medal winners fuels their inspiration.
Interestingly, the size of the hometown seemed to make a difference, with the effect more prominent in less-populated areas. An increased number of Olympic-level athletes from a particular hometown seemed to be negatively related with the amount of activity that hometown’s youth engaged in.
“There are likely many athletes that represent particularly larger communities, where it may become difficult for athletes to ‘stand out’ and make personally relevant connections with youth in their hometown community,” says Potwarka.
“Winning a medal, however, might be the key factor that allows athletes in these particularly larger communities stand out and have an inspirational effect.”
The research also showed a difference between the response of male youth and female youth, with female youth less likely to be inspired by medals.
Potwarka believes this could be because of generally less emphasis on female sports in society. He and his team plan to research this phenomenon more closely.
“Our research team is now going to focus on examining what makes winning medals particularly inspiring for some youth and maybe not for others. We think that what youth think about, and how they feel while watching athletes win medals might be really important for understanding post-event participation decisions.
“It is important that we continue to support and fund youth sport and physical activity opportunities in our community. Youth sport must be inclusive and accessible. We have to ensure youth have positive experiences from the playground to the podium.”
Leah Gerber is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach her via firstname.lastname@example.org
WATERLOO — Waterloo-based Toxon Technologies is helping Olympic archers hit their target.
The company only launched its specialized archery technology last year, but today, the Bowdometer is used by several of the top archers in the world competing at the Summer Games in Tokyo.
“It feels amazing” to see the product is being used by athletes competing at the highest level, said CEO Marianne Bell.
Toxon developed the Bowdometer after being approached by George Wagner, longtime owner and manager of the Bow Shop in Waterloo, who was looking for a better way to count shots.
The Bowdometer, which weighs just 11 grams, attaches to almost any bow and provides a wealth of data beyond the number of shots.
Two Canadian Olympic archers — four-time Olympian Crispin Duenas, who won gold in the 2019 PanAm Games, and first-time Olympian Stephanie Barrett — use the technology, and the company works closely with Shawn Riggs of Kitchener, coach for the Canadian archery team.
Three other Olympians — Steve Wijler of the Netherlands, Slawomir Naploszek of Poland and Chiara Rebagliati of Italy — also use the Bowdometer.
Bell said she’s particularly delighted to see Naploszek at the Games. The Polish archer, who turned 53 on Thursday, made his Olympic debut at the 1992 Barcelona Games, but recently returned to the sport and qualified for the Tokyo Games.
“It’s such a testament to the sport, that it’s such an ageless sport,” Bell said. “You don’t have to be 18 or 20 to be a top athlete.
“It’s a very psychological game. Most of it is battling what’s going on in your head and your emotions as you’re competing. The older you get, you’ve obviously had more experience in competitions.”
Toxon connected with the Olympians as part of an ambassador program it created to get feedback on the Bowdometer. Its 85 ambassadors include 25 Canadians, as well as archers from around the globe from a range of ages and skill levels.
The Bowdometer not only tracks shots like an odometer, but looks at other variables such as bow direction, vibration and shot angle, allowing archers to improve their consistency.
Top-flight athletes are already quite consistent, but the device’s data can hone in on what’s needed to boost performance, Bell said.
“The entire national team basically became part of our Beta testing group,” Bell said.
Athletes from the national team gave Toxon, whose name means “bow” in ancient Greek, early feedback to develop and refine features on the device, Bell said.
“We combine modern technology with one of the oldest sports in history,” she added.
Duenas said the device helped explain why some errant shots landed where they did.
“Even though I couldn’t feel the flaw in my shot, the rating from the Bowdometer can give me a great idea of what happened.”
Although the Olympics’ strict rules prevent archers from using any electronic device in competition, the Olympians use the Bowdometer in practice.
The delay caused by the pandemic that pushed the 2020 Games into this summer was an unexpected boost for Toxon, Bell said.
“If Tokyo had gone ahead on schedule, we would have been a brand in production and probably wouldn’t have had the access to the athletes that we did,” she said.
Toxon is also exploring ways its technology could be applied to other sports. And Bell has her sights set on future Olympics.
“It’s only three years to Paris 2024,” she says with a laugh.
Catherine Thompson is a Waterloo Region-based reporter focusing on urban affairs for The Record. Reach her via email: email@example.com
MAPLETON – The County of Wellington is inviting input from stakeholders on a Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for the Flax Bridge on Wellington Road 11.
The Flax Bridge is a single-span steel pony truss structure with a concrete deck over the Conestogo River.
The bridge is located on Wellington Road 11, just south of the Wellington Road 109 intersection, at the border of Mapleton and Wellington North. The study area extends approximately one kilometre on either side of the bridge.
In a notice of the planned environmental assessment, county roads manager Joe de Koning indicates major elements of the Flax Bridge (No. B011025) “were found to be in an advanced state of deterioration and are approaching the end of their useful service life.”
The assessment, to be conducted by WSP Canada will evaluate options and identify the preferred solution for removal, rehabilitation or replacement of the bridge structure, the notice states.
The county notes a key component of the study will be consultation with interested stakeholders including public, agencies and Indigenous communities.
“We want to ensure that anyone with an interest in this study has the opportunity to provide input and feedback,” officials state.
Project updates will be posted on the Wellington County website www.wellington.ca and anyone interested is invited to provide input to project team members: de Koning at firstname.lastname@example.org (519-837-2601 ext. 2270) or consulting engineer Jamie Yeung at Jamie.email@example.com (289-835-2637).
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The Foundry Tavern, an outdoor pop-up restaurant at Tapestry Hall, is located along with Foundry Brewing in Galt’s Gaslight District. Passing through Tapestry’s event space, one’s jaw drops at “Meander,” an innovative example of responsive living architecture, unveiled last October.
Stunning, it employs 3-D printed materials, sensors, sound cells and tiny motors and LEDS fashioning a vast mesh of spiky spheres and soft fronds that curl, pulse and vibrate. Linked by sensors to the Grand River, the sculpture’s movement and sound reflect both the river’s currents and the energy of people in the room.
It was unseasonably cold, so a group of jacket-clad patrons perched on narrow metal chairs beneath umbrellas or in the large, tented area within site of a condo construction crane. A flight of beer was good value at $10 for four small glasses, the selections exactly what my tasters-in-chief expected. An order of Carbon Stout soared solo, performing so well it required midflight refuelling.
The menu hovers between pub and finer dining: we asked to share a Tavern charcuterie plate ($25) and crispy fish tacos ($16 for three) as appetizers. As mains, we selected: Foundry cod and chips ($21, with onion rings substituted for fries for $1.50); buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with fries ($17); a Foundry griddle burger with fries ($19) and another appetizer, roasted octopus ($21).
That’s when things went a bit south: as a result of a misunderstanding, everything arrived at the table at the same time. We disposed of the tacos quickly, appreciating the fresh cod on soft shells, with green sauce, pickled onion, cheese and slaw.
We progressed to the mains that were cooling rapidly. Because of COVID-19m my usual tithing arrangement with guests was moot and I, mostly, relied on their palates to assess the food. The burger, a Big Mac emulation, complete with double patty, pickles and American cheese tasted good, but didn’t get the meat to sauce ratio quite right, and the pickles were also deemed insufficiently prominent.
The fried chicken was a miss with spiced honey, roasted garlic mayo and house-made sweet pickles too one-note overall. A crisp, vinegary pickle might have balanced the dish. The fries were declared wonderful by all, but the onion rings that accompanied a large piece of beer-battered cod were a bit greasy.
I had opted for one of several less-pubby dishes on the menu, but the octopus was not at its very best: it felt as if it had sat too long before the dish was assembled. Though there were bright individual points, including good crispy potatoes, bright salsa verde, nduja, chili vinaigrette and roasted garlic aioli, the plating seemed off-kilter.
Meanwhile, the interesting-looking charcuterie — including rabbit pistachio terrine, pickles and duck rillettes made in-house — sat untouched, until I asked our delightful server to take it away, explaining no one felt like returning to appetizer mode. They were apologetic and handled the situation well, as did management who were over quickly to check on us.
I enquired about a coconut cream pie ($9) and an ample slice was comped. Made on site, it was arguably the best item of the evening. The bakers in the group undertook a forensic dissection, from the slightly honeyed and caramelized Graham cracker crust, through layers of coconut curd, sweet whipped cream, brûléed meringue, and toasted coconut.
Foundry’s culinary director, chef Drew Ellerby — with 17 years experience working with famous Toronto chef Mark McEwan — certainly has the credentials to cook anything he chooses, and he and his team oversee all of Tapestry Hall’s offerings. One can sense his frustration with the way things have been due to COVID, while maintaining an external culinary presence, until a new bricks and mortar tavern is built, about a year from now.
The setting is interesting and houses a world-class work of art. Some of the food sang, some didn’t. Had we — as a group — selected our menu with more forethought, sticking either to the pub-side mains or the sharing plates, we would have been happier overall.
As one guest remarked, a paddle of beer and fries, and they would have been raving about it. Add a charcuterie plate and I’d be there too.
Note to readers: This article has been edited to better describe “Meander.”
Dining columns focus on the food available for pickup, takeout and delivery in Waterloo Region, as well as meals taken on patios and in restaurants. They are based on unannounced orders from or visits to the establishments. Restaurants do not pay for any portion of the reviewer’s meal. Alex Bielak can be reached via Facebook.com/Food4ThoughtArchives or Twitter (@alexbielak).
Outdoor Pop-up Patio
at Tapestry Hall
74 Grand Ave. S., Cambridge
Pandemic Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to close
Getting Your Food: Patio dining or takeout: to book, use Open Table or call and leave a message. No indoor dining or delivery options available.
Payment: All credit cards, Debit, or cash.
Accessibility: There are ramps into the building and the washrooms — including a family washroom — are fully wheelchair accessible. The patio has some uneven surfaces.
The Bill: $134.19 (including tax but not tip) for two appetizers, three mains, and two glasses and one flight of beer. A dessert was comped.
Notes: Subscribing to Foundry’s newsletter nets a single diner 20 per cent off this summer: see the website for the fine print. For more about ‘Meander’ go to meandercambridge.ca. The public is welcome to view the installation during the Tavern’s opening hours.
Ordering food in the time of coronavirus: As restaurants are making decisions on a day-to-day basis, please check their social media or call them for updates. Lists of restaurants operating while dining rooms are closed can be found at bit.ly/3d2JV74 and wilmotstrongertogether.ca; a crowdsourced list is on Facebook’s Food In The Waterloo Region at bit.ly/3d1cKAX.
MAPLETON – The second Shine Your Light Sunflower Tour will take place Aug. 14, organizers have announced.
The event was launched last summer by Matt and Leona Ottens as a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year the event, which will raise funds for the Palmerston and District Hospital (PDH) Foundation, is going ahead despite Matt’s tragic death in an incident on Conestoga Lake on June 13.
Matt died while assisting a child who had gone overboard off a boat from which the family was swimming. The child was pulled safely from the water, but the 33-year-old never resurfaced.Related Articles
- Sunflower tour final tally exceeds $13,000 for Wheels of Hope
PDH foundation development officer Dale Franklin is assisting with registration for the event.
“With Matt’s loss we weren’t really sure what was going to happen, but Leona decided that she wanted to move forward,” said Franklin.
“They already planted the sunflowers” and “had decided together, ahead of Matt’s death, that the proceeds were going to come to PDH this year.”
The 2021 Shine Your Light Sunflower Tour, which features walks through a 20-acre sunflower field and a “homegrown and handmade” market, will be held on Aug. 14 on the Ottens farm near Moorefield.
Last year the event was held over two days, raised nearly $14,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope foundation.
Franklin said Leona is aiming to increase the total to $15,000 this year.♦
Matt and Leona Ottens presented $13,800 in proceeds from the 2020 Shine Your Light Sunflower Tour to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope foundation. Advertiser file photo
“We will likely have a slightly greater number of people, hopefully, come through this year if all the time slots get booked up, then we even did last year over the two days,” said Franklin.
Participants can book one of 60 time slots between 9am and 7pm for groups of up to five people. Five groups of five will be allowed per time slot. The cost is $50 which will be donated to the PDH foundation.
Franklin said organizers have worked with public health to ensure the event is consistent with current COVID-19 safety measures.
“We’re following guidelines and we’re keeping people as safe as we can,” she pointed out.
“And thankfully it’s an outdoor event, which makes people feel a lot more comfortable and there’s a whole lot of vaccination that’s happened this year that wasn’t part of the equation last year.”
A new element for this year’s event is a Shine Your Like Walk/Run. Participants can walk or run two, five or 10 kilometres. The walk/run finishes up in the sunflowers and participants have been factored into the overall count, Franklin notes.
Cost to run or walk the course is a $30 donation. There is also a free kids run/walk.
Franklin notes Leona is a personal trainer while Matt “was incredibly focused on strength and health conditioning.”
“Leona felt it was so important (to incorporate a run into the event) because there have been so few opportunities for people to really participate in that type of physical activity over the past year,” said Franklin.
There are separate online processes to sign up for the tour and the walk/run.
For the tour visit bit.ly/3yda6T8 and for the walk/run visit bit.ly/2VmJC2M.
The post Shine Your Light Sunflower Tour to raise funds for Palmerston hospital appeared first on Wellington Advertiser.
WATERLOO REGION — Waterloo Region is reporting another 20 COVID-19 cases, putting the total at 18,340 in the Thursday update by public health.
Variants of concern cases increased by 11 to 4,683. That includes 1,187 cases of the Delta variant.
Active cases increased by five to 119.
Hospitalizations remained steady at 13, including 12 people in intensive care.
Outbreaks decreased by two to six. An outbreak in a day camp declared on Wednesday is linked to seven cases.
Deaths remained at 282.
Just over 68 per cent of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated, and 82.7 per cent received at least one dose.
A total of 765,720 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to regional residents.
KITCHENER — The Kitchener Rangers are making moves behind the scenes this off-season with a pair of internal promotions.
The team announced on Thursday that Michael Zsolt is moving into the assistant general manager role and Alex Robson will become the new director of analytics.
Zsolt joined the Rangers in 2017, and was previously working as the team’s director of analytics and stats before also taking on the role of hockey operations assistant.
“Mike has been an integral part of our hockey staff for the last handful of seasons and is very deserving of this new title,” Rangers head coach and general manager Mike McKenzie said in a news release.
Robson was previously working under Zsolt on the Rangers’ analytics team, and McKenzie said he was the natural choice to take on a bigger role.