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Wellington Advertiser

Puslinch eyeing 3.8% tax increase in 2022; blended increase of 2%

ABERFOYLE – Puslinch council approved a four per cent cost of living increase for staff in 2022 at its Jan. 13 meeting.

And that changed the frame of discussion for the rest of the meeting as council looked for other places to shave dollars from the draft 2022 budget.

Normally the staffing piece is presented later in the budget process, but treasurer Mary Hasan thought it would be more prudent to bring it up sooner rather than later since council had directed staff in the summer to cap salary increases at 2% and her report recommended a 4% increase.

Mayor James Seeley acknowledged that when staffing is left until the end of the process, that’s often the figure that gets adjusted to reduce the overall tax increase.

“Finding savings should not be on the backs of staff,” he said.

In her report, Hasan suggested it’s a false economy to postpone salary increases. And in the 2021 budget staff took no salary increase in an effort to help taxpayers hard hit by the pandemic.

“As council is aware, when a market review is undertaken to ensure wages are at an appropriate level, if regular incremental adjustments are not made, a significant adjustment will need to be made every four to six years which will have significant budgetary impacts at the time,” Hasan wrote.

The report states the cost-of-living increase calculated by Statistics Canada was 4% in August, 4.4% in September, 4.9% in October and 5% in November 2021.

As well, neighbouring municipalities have approved 4% increases for staff in 2022 and it’s important to remain competitive, states the report.

“Not abiding by policy or varying from an ongoing policy to benefit from lower COLA numbers is problematic and will result in the township’s salary grid falling behind,” states the report.

“This will lead to staff retention and recruitment problems as well as result in significant budget spikes following market reviews (i.e., every three to four years).”

However, when the 4% salary increase was added to the budget, it brought the proposed levy increase to around the 5.2% mark – a figure council found untenable.

“I’d like to get that to 3.9,” said councillor Matthew Bulmer.

It proved difficult to find savings, however.

Related Articles
  • Puslinch township seeking public comment on 2022 budget
  • Puslinch council considers $4.9-million capital budget
  • Puslinch council begins budget deliberations Oct. 27

Indeed, township staff had learned that its annual insurance premium for 2022 has risen to $147,696 while staff had budgeted $92,369 for insurance.

And the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is once again postponing updating assessment values, so they remain at 2016 levels even while home prices have risen dramatically.

However, there was growth in Puslinch through new construction and renovations and that has been assessed at 1.73% and will bring an extra $43 million to the township.

Council also found savings in relation to the Highway 401/Highway 6 project. While it is a Ministry of Transportation project, Puslinch will need to review any congestion “hotspots” the realignment of roads will create, and staff had budgeted $25,000 for that project in 2022.

Ministry officials recently presented the project to council and given their proposed timetable Seeley didn’t think the township’s review needed to happen immediately.

“I think we can reduce that by $15,000 and spread it out over two years; $25,000 will be too rich.” the mayor said.

Councillor John Sepulis put forward a motion to reduce the amount to $5,000 in 2022 and spread the balance over future years. His motion passed unanimously.

Council also voted to move $50,000 from the asset management reserve to the gravel roads improvement discretionary reserve. This had no impact on the tax levy, but council wanted to bolster the fund so it can address the network of gravel roads throughout the township.

The Transportation Master Plan, currently under review, “will provide specific recommendations regarding the township’s road infrastructure including gravel roads, surface treated roads, and paved roads,” Hasan said in an email to the Advertiser.

In the meeting Seeley said it’s less expensive to plow and maintain paved roads versus gravel roads, and the majority of residents who live on gravel roads would prefer them to be paved.

At the end of the meeting, the township tax increase had been trimmed to 3.83% with a blended tax increase (Puslinch, Wellington County and education) of 2.03%. This amounts to another $116 in taxes on a median-priced home or $19 per $100,000 of assessment.

This is not the final decision on the budget.

A virtual public meeting is planned for Jan. 19 at 7pm, and council will consider this feedback before its final budget meeting on Feb. 9.


Global News: Kitchener

Transport loaded with 30,000 pounds of diapers rolls over on Hwy. 401

A transport truck driver is lucky to have escaped with minor injuries after his rig rolled over on Highway 401 near Maitland. The highway was closed for several hours.

Global News: Kitchener

4,183 people in Ontario hospitals with COVID, 580 in intensive care

Ontario reported 38 more virus-related deaths were added as hospitalizations surpass 4,000.

Global News: Kitchener

String of pharmacy robberies in Kitchener and Waterloo remain under investigation: police

Police released photos of a light-coloured vehicle that was seen leaving the scene of at least one of the pharmacy robberies which took place in Kitchener and Waterloo.

The Record

OPP roundup: Counterfeiters imprint walrus, man’s face on fake toonies


An occasional roundup of unusual events reported by the Ontario Provincial Police:

Counterfeiters often make large-denomination bills, but these guys set their sights much lower — $2 coins.

And what a terrible job they did.

On Jan. 11, police were called to a store in Hawkesbury, east of Ottawa, after counterfeit toonies were used to buy items.

Photos of the fake coins show a walrus (not the standard polar bear) on one side and a man (not the standard Queen Elizabeth effigy) on the other side. The value: “Z Dollard.” The fake coins are dated 1990; the first real toonie was minted in 1996.

“The OPP would like everyone to be aware of this and to be vigilant in assuring they do not fall victim to this fraud,” police said.

Dead gator in ditch

It’s an animal cruelty case with a twist.

Police were called on Dec. 26 after a dead alligator and five large exotic snakes, also dead, were spotted in a ditch in Caledon, north of Brampton.

“Unfortunately, this is not a unique situation in Ontario,” Toronto Zoo chief executive Dolf DeJong said in a police news release. “Many individuals are operating non-accredited roadside zoos or have exotic animals in private ownership.”

DeJong said the zoo is helping OPP in the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 1-888-310-1122.

Motorist wears bulletproof vest

Fair to say he was up to no good.

Police pulled over a speeding driver on Highway 401 in Kingston on Dec. 31. He was wearing a bulletproof vest and had a loaded prohibited handgun.

A Lachine, Que., man, 46, faces 15 charges, including several firearms offences.

Armoured car rolls over

An armoured car rolled over on Highway 401 in Toronto, but there was no windfall for motorists.

“All the gold and silver is accounted for and on the way to its intended destination,” OPP said in a tweet.

It happened on Dec. 31 in a westbound 401 lane at Renforth Drive.

Avoid these ‘deals’

It’s a warning one would think is unnecessary: “Don’t purchase electronics from the back of a vehicle.”

That’s the headline on an OPP news release after a man was seen selling electronics on Jan. 11 from a minivan in a parking lot in Simcoe, south of Brantford.

“Always purchase your items from a reputable business or local vendor, who will stand behind their products, their reputation and ensure that you get what you pay for,” OPP said.

Driver faces nine charges

Police tried to stop a car in Atwood, in Perth County near Listowel, on Jan. 2 at 1:30 p.m. In fleeing from police, the motorist drove across a lawn and struck a building.

“The heavily damaged vehicle then fled southbound onto Perth Road 164, and then westbound on Perth Line 72,” OPP said. “It continued into Huron County, where it failed to stop for stop signs and drove dangerously into Clinton.”

The driver abandoned the vehicle, fled on foot and broke into a shed near Hensall. The homeowner confronted him and called police.

The driver, 29, of no fixed address, faces nine charges, including impaired and dangerous driving, fleeing police, possession of methamphetamine and taking a motor vehicle without consent.

Five vehicles stolen

Thieves cashed in at a car dealership in Listowel.

On Dec. 31 at 2:30 a.m., two suspects broke into the business and stole car keys. They then stole two Dodge pickup trucks, a Chevrolet pickup, an Audi sedan and a Mercedes SUV. Total value: $140,000.

“The 2018 Audi and 2012 Mercedes-Benz were recovered in Wellington County but the three pickup trucks remain outstanding,” police said.

Gordon Paul is a Waterloo Region-based reporter focusing on crime for The Record. Reach him via email: gpaul@therecord.com


Global News: Kitchener

Disc golf course coming to Guelph’s Eastview Park

The City of Guelph says the first nine holes of the disc golf course will be ready to use by the summer, with the full course complete by the fall.

Global News: Kitchener

Several animals saved after passerby alerts owners to barn fire in Townsend, Ont.

OPP say a driver noticed the barn fire, pulled into the driveway and started honking their horn to alert the residents, who were then able to save several animals.

Global News: Kitchener

Major delays continue across Highway 401 in Toronto day after massive snow storm

Ontario Provincial Police officers are calling it an 'Ontario storm hangover' as delays and traffic were reported across major Toronto-area highways early Tuesday.

The Record

‘The system is broken’ — eviction notice creates new urgency for disabled man’s search for an accessible-affordable apartment


KITCHENER — While most celebrated the Christmas season with presents and family dinners, George White received an eviction notice from his landlord.

White was expecting it, but he has to be out of his apartment by the end up September — two months earlier than expected.

The 61-year-old White, who has MS and needs a wheelchair to get around, has lived in a main-floor apartment in a house on Sullivan Street for the past 10 years.

“I’m still sitting here, I still don’t have a place to live after September and I am still scared,” said White.

After getting the letter of eviction, the Region of Waterloo rejected his application for a subsidized and accessible apartment.

The region sent White an email last Wednesday saying the region can’t find his original application from 2013. Neither can White, who has not been able to locate his housing application papers since his personal-support worker died in March 2020.

So the region’s email says 2017 will be used as the date of his original application, and that means White will have to wait years longer for one of the 20 subsidized and accessible apartments among the region’s stock of 3,000 social housing units.

“They are contesting the date that I applied,” said White. “I feel like I have hung on as long as I can, that I have done everything I can do.”

The email from the region was signed by two administrators, including Jennifer Murdoch, the manager of housing programs and development.

Those rent-geared-to-income units that are wheelchair accessible are among the most sought-after apartments at regional housing with a waiting list that is seven years long.

“That type of unit would not turn over as often as other affordable units,” said Murdoch.

Murdoch said she is not allowed to speak about a specific case, but in general, applications that went awry have things in common. The applications need to be updated annually, and sometimes that does not happen, she said.

Changes in an applicant’s personal support worker can lead to interruptions in the process, said Murdoch. If the applicant only selected a few locations instead of taking the first one available, that can lead to a longer wait too, she added.

“There should be an annual update happening on all our files, and if that is not happening we wait to be connected again, and review the file,” said Murdoch.

Reviews are done to find “a mutually acceptable” date for the original application, she said.

“Because our system is chronologically based it is important we have the right date of application for all of our files,” said Murdoch.

Since his story went public Dec. 24, White was contacted by regional housing. He’s been asked to make changes to his application, but needs help to complete the paper work.

The region says it can’t find White’s original application in their files or databases. White says he’s been searching for it and is worried it may never be found.

“I can’t find the paper work, they can’t find the paper work, so what does that mean? That I qualify to be homeless?” said White.

White knows the coming months will be stressful.

He receives a disability pension of $1,350 a month. Looking for an affordable-and-accessible apartment in record-breaking real estate market makes him feel, in his words, like he’s left to twist in a cold wind. The apartments he has looked at start at $2,000-a-month.

“Nobody can do anything, and the system is broken, and nobody wants to recognize that and fix it,” said White.

Terry Pender is a Waterloo Region-based reporter focusing on arts and entertainment for The Record. Reach him via email: tpender@therecord.com


The Record

Libraries are ‘the essence of community’


KITCHENER — A wedding venue. A warm place to sit. A place to collaborate with other artists.

The meaning of a library is constantly evolving, and Kitchener is at the forefront.

Twenty-seven-year-old Hana You goes to the library once a week with a young child she babysits so he can get a change of scenery.

“Because of the pandemic, he hasn’t been able to interact with other people other than family,” said You.

She’s only been in the region for about a year, but she said the library has been very inclusive because of all the events it stages.

“This is kind of the essence of community because a lot of people come here to do not just reading, but participating in activities,” said You.

“I think during a pandemic especially, this is what we really need.”

During Ontario’s vaccine mandate and recent modified Step 2 lockdown, Kitchener Public Library’s main branch at 85 Queen St. N. is one of many places that anyone can go — vaccine certificates are not required.

Although hours have shrunk from 12 hours a day (the library is now open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and capacity is at 50 per cent, the building offers a place to sit and bask in natural sunlight, pick up a book or instrument, or book out Heffner Studio space.

The branch has been home to weddings, two honey bee hives and nutritional programming, where vegetables are grown beside the building’s courtyard. It also offers technology like Zoom connection and printing facilities for those without a phone, computer or printer.

This has been important for people on low incomes who needed to make court appearances on Zoom or print important documents.

One of the jewels of the main branch on Queen Street is the studio spaces.

Nathan Stretch, the manager of community development, said one of the team’s goals is to have what’s inside the building represent the needs of people from all walks of life in Kitchener.

The three studio spaces are sound-treated and set up with recording equipment. The computers have music production software like Garageband and Logic and the whole Adobe Suite to use for creative projects.

“I found this a really admirable process, the idea that you would allow access to something that’s kind of seen as exclusive or just for experts,” said Stretch.

“To make high-end studio space and equipment available to the community at no cost is pretty exciting.”

Libraries were once seen as solely a place where you could borrow books, but places like KPL are trying to “move past normative concepts of what a library is,” he said.

Mary Chevreau started as the library’s executive director in 2015. With a background in technology, she offset many of the digital programs in the library.

“Libraries were sort of at the beginning of a renaissance, and part of the renaissance is creating library spaces that are these creative hubs,” she said.

The library recently partnered with The Working Centre where inventory and operations for its Commons Studios had been taken over by KPL. This has allowed the library to offer rentals, including video cameras, camera equipment and studio lights.

The library, which currently employs about 170 workers, also has an indoor theatre where in-person panels and events would take place before the pandemic. The library now offers virtual events such as an upcoming Latin film festival, resumé writing help and social knitting.

While book literacy is still a mandate, Chevreau said other forms are just as important, including art literacy, music literacy and technological literacy. During the pandemic, the library supported people who needed help attending virtual court appearances by having a private “Zoom room” with a computer they could use.

“There were many people out there who have no idea how to conduct a Zoom meeting, what that means, what they need to do,” said Chevreau.

“So we partnered with some of our legal aid folks to ensure that there were spaces and devices so people could meet their court appearances.”

The team has tried to keep up with current trends through programs, such as offering virtual reality and now working on integrating artificial intelligence.

Capacity has not exceeded or met the 50 per cent capacity since the pandemic, said Chevreau, adding that before the pandemic, hundreds would be in the building at one time.

This will bounce back when the pandemic restrictions and pressures ease, she said.

“Everyone coexisting in our space makes me the happiest,” said Chevreau.

“The fact that I walk in the library and I can see families with young children, and the children are delighted to be there. I can see seniors getting help with their new iPads. I can see people who are experiencing homelessness have somewhere they can sit and be respected and not told to move along.”

Cheyenne Bholla is a Waterloo Region-based reporter at The Record. Reach her via email: cbholla@therecord.com


Global News: Kitchener

List of Greater Toronto Area school closures for Tuesday, Jan. 18

Many boards have said due to the winter storm aftermath cleanup, the roads and sidewalks are not safe for students and staff to attend school in-person.

Global News: Kitchener

Half of Ontario opioid deaths interacted with health care system the month before: study

And one in four had seen a doctor, gone to an emergency department or been discharged from hospital just a week prior, the research shows.

CTV News Kitchener

Taking a hard look at public school books

From CTV Kitchener: WRDSB held a meeting to hear from the community as they review potentially harmful and outdated library books.

The Record

Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario reporting 4,183 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 580 in the ICU


The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

10:21 a.m. Ontario is reporting 4,183 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 580 in the ICU; at least 7,086 new cases.

82.1 per cent of patients admitted to the ICU were admitted for COVID-19 and 17.9 per cent were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for COVID-19, according to tweets from Health Minister Christine Elliott.

10:16 a.m. Boris Johnson denied he was warned not to go ahead with a party in his office garden during the first pandemic lockdown in May 2020, after his former aide accused the U.K. prime minister of lying over the affair.

“I can tell you categorically that nobody told me and said that this was something that was against the rules, that was a breach of the COVID rules or you’re doing something that wasn’t a work event,” Johnson said in a pooled interview broadcast Tuesday. “Frankly I can’t imagine why on earth it would have gone ahead anyway, or why it would have been allowed to go ahead.”

Johnson is battling to save his political career, with members of his ruling Conservative Party furious over allegations Johnson and his staff broke the pandemic rules they had set for the British public to follow. The issue has dominated front pages for weeks, while support for the Tories has slumped.

9:45 a.m. Hong Kong will cull more than 2,000 hamsters and ban the import of small animals after a pet shop worker, a customer and at least 11 hamsters tested positive for the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Officials said Tuesday that it was not clear that the virus had been transmitted to humans from imported hamsters. But they called on residents to surrender hamsters imported since Dec. 22 to be tested and euthanized to prevent any further spread.

“They’re excreting the virus, and the virus can infect other animals, other hamsters and also human beings,” said Thomas Sit, assistant director of Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation department. “We don’t want to cull all the animals, but we have to protect public health and animal health. We have no choice — we have to make a firm decision.”

9:15 a.m. Australia recorded its highest number of daily COVID deaths of the pandemic Tuesday, 74, and the state of Victoria declared a state of emergency for its hospital system, which is buckling under the strain of staff illness and soaring coronavirus cases.

James Merlino, Victoria’s deputy premier, said the emergency measure could postpone leave for thousands of health care workers and defer nonessential services. It will take effect at noon Wednesday.

“We’ve got more than 4,000 health care workers unavailable right now, alongside a vast number of patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization,” Merlino said.

On Tuesday, 1,152 people were hospitalized for the coronavirus in the state and 127 were in intensive care, with 43 of those on a ventilator. In the past two days, 11 people have died of the coronavirus, Merlino said, adding that cases were expected to spike in the next two to four weeks.

8:50 a.m. Russian authorities said Tuesday that the government is shortening the required isolation period for people infected with the coronavirus from 14 to seven days.

The move comes as Russia faces another surge of COVID-19 cases, this time driven by the rapid spread of the highly contagious omicron variant.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who runs the country's coronavirus task force, said health officials were “optimizing our approaches to quarantine and testing of our citizens, including shortening the quarantine period to seven days.”

8:30 a.m. When the Ontario government created a new law for alcohol sales to help restaurants and bars through COVID-19 lockdowns, it inadvertently led to a whole new type of business: bottle shops.

Restaurants and bars were able to pivot to selling take-out alcohol alongside food and snacks to stay afloat. And when indoor dining reopened, many continued the bottle-shop service. Now, new stand-alone bottle shops offering their own curated selection of alcoholic beverages are beginning to emerge.

Ontario consumers now have a wider variety of products to choose from, but industry experts say the regulations for this new frontier still need work, as many new bottle shops are operating in a grey area.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rosa Saba

8:20 a.m. A local cleanup and evacuation operation has begun in Tonga after an epic volcanic eruption set off a tsunami, as the island nation’s government, after days of silence, told of an “unprecedented disaster,” and the first aerial photos emerged showing the normally green and verdant isles blanketed with gray dust and ash.

International efforts to deliver aid were being hampered Tuesday by an ash cloud over the country’s main airport, damaged communication lines and one less obvious long-term threat: the risk of foreigners bringing COVID into a country without the virus.

The communications void three days after the eruption on Saturday night had left the extent of the damage unclear. But in the first official update on Tuesday night, the government in Tonga said it had begun assessing the eruption’s toll — confirming that three people had died, including a British national, a 65-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man.

7:47 a.m. Poland's health officials say that the country has entered a new, fifth wave, in the coronavirus pandemic, predicting that it it will peak in mid-February at about 60,000 new infections per day or even more.

Waldemar Kraska, the deputy health minister, said Tuesday that the highly transmissible omicron variant now accounts for 19% of the samples nationwide that have been sequenced, though 50% are in the Pomerania province along the Baltic coast in the country's north.

If the Health Ministry's predictions prove correct, the rate of infection in the coming wave would be more than double that of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2021.

On Tuesday, Poland recorded 19,652 new cases of COVID-19 and 377 deaths.

Poland's vaccination rate is at 56.5 per cent, significantly lower than in many other European Union nations, and the death rate is significantly higher in proportion to the population.

5:32 a.m.: While the most challenging days of COVID-19 are predicted to be ahead for British Columbia’s health-care system, representatives for doctors and nurses say their members are on the verge of a possible collapse.

Doctors of BC president Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh said it has been an overwhelming three years for her members.

“I am hearing from some doctors who are just ready to quit,” she said in an interview.

The organization represents 16,000 physicians in the province.

“People have shared their honest feelings with me and they’re feeling so consumed. They’re emotionally exhausted. They’re feeling depleted,” she said.

“They’re seeing their patients suffer. They’re also under such constraints.”

5:31 a.m.: From her Spanish-language Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok accounts, Colombian-born nurse Johana Botero makes her pitch to other South American health workers to come join her in Quebec.

Some 10 years after arriving in Canada and well-established in her career, she now tries to help others navigate the long, complicated process that will allow them to practise in Quebec. Their efforts, she assures them, will eventually pay off with better pay, work-life balance and opportunities than they have in their home countries.

“It’s win-win, both for Quebec and the people who want to immigrate,” Botero said in a recent interview.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, the Quebec government needs more nurses, and fast. The pandemic has exacerbated a nursing shortage that continues to grow in urgency as patient numbers rise and tens of thousands of nurses are off the job due to positive COVID-19 tests, other illness and burnout.

To meet the shortage, hospitals and health networks — with the support of the provincial government — are launching recruitment campaigns in Africa, Europe and Latin America. Some are enlisting the help of people like Botero, who is using her Facebook page with 43,000 followers to help a hospital on Montreal’s South Shore recruit up to 100 nurses.

But experts and nurses warn that recruiting internationally trained health workers is unlikely to change the situation in the province immediately, despite government efforts to speed things up.

5:30 a.m.: More schools across Ontario are set to reopen for in-person classes Tuesday.

Boards in some parts of the province including Windsor and Thunder Bay saw schools open on Monday after a two-week period of remote learning.

But the plan was set back for students and teachers in other areas of the province, including the Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa areas, because heavy snow halted school bus services on Monday.

Several boards in the Toronto area, like the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the York Region District School Board, said classes will go ahead remotely through online learning.

But the Toronto District School Board said there would be no live remote or virtual learning, either, noting in an online post that 36 of its schools still need to have snow removed from their roofs — a task it said couldn’t be completed Monday due to poor weather and road conditions.

Class are resuming with limited information about COVID-19 cases in schools.

The province has stopped sharing that case counts because PCR tests for the virus is now limited to those considered most high-risk for an infection, so most teachers and students can’t access them.

Teachers’ unions have warned families to brace for disruptions from anticipated staff shortages caused by the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Tuesday 5:27 a.m.: There’s hope that Health Canada’s approval of Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 treatment will help ease the strain on the country’s health-care system, as hospitalizations continue their steady climb.

The pill uses a combination of two antiviral drugs to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from replicating once it has infected a patient, but health officials stress it is not a replacement for vaccinations.

Clinical trials showed treatment with Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 by 89 per cent when the medications were started within three days of the beginning of symptoms, and by 85 per cent when started within five days.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer, noted supply of Paxlovid will be an early issue, meaning the treatment is unlikely to have much of an impact on the current Omicron wave.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Canada has already received its first shipment of 30,000 treatment courses of the Pfizer drug, with another 120,000 expected through March.

Read Monday’s coronavirus news.


Global News: Kitchener

Metropolitan-leading New York faces Toronto

Toronto Maple Leafs (24-9-3, third in the Atlantic) vs. New York Rangers (25-10-4, first in the Metropolitan)

Global News: Kitchener

Bam back, Butler gets triple-double, Heat top Raps

MIAMI (AP) — The final rebound of the game fell into Jimmy Butler's hands just a moment or two before the final buzzer, and Bam Adebayo started celebrating for two reasons.

Global News: Kitchener

Butler gets triple-double, Heat hold off Raptors

MIAMI (AP) — Tyler Herro scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler got a triple-double in the game's final moment and the Miami Heat held off the Toronto Raptors 104-99 on Monday night.

CTV News Kitchener

Betty White Challenge raises money for animals

From CTV Kitchener’s Krista Sharpe: Betty White Challenge brings in tens of thousands of dollars in donations to animal-based charities.

CTV News Kitchener

5-year-old girl reads 750 books for MS Society

From CTV Kitchener’s Nicole Lampa: A 5-year-old Stratford girl reads 750 books while raising thousands of dollars for MS Society of Canada.

CTV News Kitchener

Third arrest made in fatal hit-and-run

From CTV Kitchener’s Heather Senoran: Third person charged after fatal hit-and-run that killed 23-year-old Alex Dalton last April.

CTV News Kitchener

Local skiers take advantage of mammoth snowfall

From CTV Kitchener’s Spencer Turcotte: Skiers hit the slopes and trails after Monday’s storm brings loads of snow to Waterloo Region.

CTV News Kitchener

Kids enjoy snow day before return to classroom

From CTV Kitchener’s Jeff Pickle: Students made the most of the year’s first snow day before returning to in-person learning.

CTV News Kitchener

Residents react to massive winter storm

From CTV Kitchener’s Carmen Wong: Residents in Waterloo Region adjust after more than 25 cm of snow force several delays and cancelations.

CTV News Kitchener

More snow before a warm up

From CTV Kitchener's Leighanne Evans: Some more snow is on the way, but it won't be as serious as Monday's snowstorm.

The Record

Monday’s snow day broke me


When I woke up to piles of snow Monday morning, my heart sank.

Monday was supposed to be the day my four-year-old daughter went back to school, and the day our lives would hopefully go back to some semblance of “normal.” But like some cruel joke on parents of school-aged kids, this snow dump buried our hopes.

I stayed in bed a few minutes longer thinking about how I was going to manage another day of having my kindergartener — and probably also my almost three-year-old daughter — at home while working.

Like every work-from-home parent to a young child will know, having your children at home with you is like working two full-time jobs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. But it has been nearly two years of having my then baby and toddler, and now toddler and kindergartener, home repeatedly.

Our routines have been inconsistent, and the constant disruptions have slowly worn me down. My kids have watched more TV in the past four weeks than they have in their entire lives. This is not how I want to parent, but I am stuck in a situation where the only way I can get an hour and 50 minutes of time to write and do interviews with few interruptions is to put on a Disney movie in the afternoon.

I didn’t always feel so overwhelmed about juggling solo-parenting while working from home. It was a bit easier when it was new and when we all thought it was temporary.

The first lockdown in March 2020 was a whirlwind. I had just gone back to work six weeks earlier after maternity leave, and I was so disappointed to be back at home again and not in the office. It has been a long time since I have thought about how I started my mornings in those days: I would nurse my 13-month-old baby and then quickly change gears into pandemic reporting mode as I logged into my morning Zoom meeting. I got most of my work done during nap time.

When my kids finally went to daycare again, they were back at home constantly as we suffered through days upon days of runny noses and coughs that plague all young families. The uncertainty of this chaos started to weigh heavily on me. When would this end?

Fast-forward to fall 2021 and my eldest daughter is in junior kindergarten. Just when we finally got used to a new routine as a family, it was disrupted by the most recent closures. Now my kindergartener has been home with me for four weeks, occasionally accompanied by her younger sister. I’m tired.

My spouse helps as much as possible but he cannot work from home, which leaves me in this situation of balancing work and child care over and over, and over again. I know my work has suffered, and what pains me even more is my split attention toward my children who deserve much more nurturing than I have been able to provide.

Even while I complain, I am very aware of my privileges: My family is financially secure and my work is mostly independent, so my schedule can be somewhat flexible to manage my kids when they’re unwell or when daycare, or school, is closed.

I know there are so many parents out there who have lost wages — and even jobs — because of this constant disruption to school and daycare schedules. I read the desperate posts in local Facebook mom groups, written by women venting about how difficult it is for them to get through the day. I feel sad for them, and very frustrated.

All parents are struggling right now but, as usual, it is mostly women who bear the burden of child care.

Even though I technically can do it all, I no longer feel like I can. I don’t want to do it all, yet I do, and it has left me feeling deflated. I know I am not the only parent who feels this way.

This last week has been especially difficult. My daughter couldn’t focus during virtual school — she is only four, after all — so we decided to skip it for the rest of the week. The decision to step away from virtual school meant I had to find more independent activities for my daughter so I could work but, of course, all she wanted to do was play with mommy. I was heartbroken.

I have taken days off when I can, but it doesn’t make up for nearly two years of distracted pandemic parenting.

On top of all the stresses of balancing work and child care, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has added another layer of anxiety for many parents worried about their kids going back into classrooms.

Every option for families of young children is wrought with caveats: What is the right decision for my family? For some, it is keeping their kids home. For others, it is sending their kids to school.

No one is right or wrong, and none of us want to be making these difficult decisions in the first place. We’re all trying our best in the most impossible parenting challenge of the century.

Maybe I put too many expectations on my daughter going back to school on Monday, hoping everything would get better if schools were open. But it’s not a bad thing to hope for a difficult situation to improve.

It has been a chaotic 22 months. I can no longer count the days I have worked at home while solo-parenting my kids — but I know I will remember these stressful experiences with fondness.

Like the time when my almost three-year-old climbed into my lap while I was trying to write on deadline and asked me which letter I was going to type next. Maddening, but adorable.

Or the time my four-year-old brought a little plush lizard to me and made it walk across my left shoulder and onto my head during a Zoom interview. I was mortified and forgot the question I was asking my subject but I just couldn’t help laughing out loud. Thankfully, my interview subject, who also had a young child at home, understood completely.

Anam Latif is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach her via email: alatif@therecord.com


Global News: Kitchener

COVID-19: 2 new deaths reported in Waterloo Region as area hospitals now have 136 patients

Waterloo Public Health reported two more COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, lifting the death toll to 325 including 11 victims this month.

The Record

More than 30 cm of snow falls in Waterloo Region, ‘a one-in-20-year storm’


WATERLOO REGION — Monday’s snowstorm will go down as one of the biggest snow events the region has seen in decades.

“It’s a one-in-20-year storm,” said Frank Seglenieks.

The University of Waterloo Weather Station co-ordinator said the storm brought more than 30 centimetres of snow to the region, something that hasn’t been seen since the late 2000s, and before then, not since the 1970s.

When you look at the snowfall statistics collected at the university’s weather station, however, the number reported won’t reflect full depth of the storm.

“The official reading for today will be 22.5 cm, but there’s been another 10.5, almost 11 cm since then,” he said on Monday afternoon.

This is because the weather data was collected at 8 a.m. Monday morning, while the snow was still falling. The next measurement, taken Tuesday morning, will include the snowfall amount that accumulated after Monday’s measurement.

On March 8 and 9 in 2008, 36.5 cm fell in the region, Seglenieks said. “That was the last time there was a storm this big.”

The storm caused major delays along transit routes, closed schools and forced the cancellation of some regional and municipal services.

Vaccination clinics were either cancelled or shut down early. Waste collection was postponed. Regional fire services asked residents if they could dig out fire hydrants near their properties.

A snow event was declared by the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, and vehicles were prohibited from parking on the street until the end of day Tuesday.

Steven Flisfeder, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada said as of noon Monday, snowfall amounts were being reported in the 25 to 30 cm range, as measured at the Region of Waterloo International Airport.

“This is one of the bigger snowstorms that has occurred in the past one or two decades,” he said.

The largest snowfall amount ever recorded at the airport was on Nov. 24, 1950, when a whopping 61 cm of snow fell.

Chris Seto is a Waterloo Region-based reporter for The Record. Reach him via email: cseto@therecord.com


Wellington Advertiser

Guelph/Eramosa sees significant increase in bylaw complaints

GUELPH/ERAMOSA – Bylaw activity in Guelph/Eramosa has increased substantially over the last three years, most notably in 2021.

On Jan. 17 bylaw enforcement and property standards officer Ivan Lunevski provided council with a summary of bylaw enforcement in the township from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.

“The increase in bylaw complaints since the year 2018 has been astronomical as you can see in the numbers in the report,” Lunevski told council.

The report noted a consistent and significant rise in bylaw complaints each year since 2018.

“We have a 525 per cent increase in 2021 from 2018 and a 296% (increase) when compared to 2019,” Lunevski explained to council.

“[In 2021] alone we’ve received 325 complaints.”

A year over year comparison of bylaw complaints and inquires from 2017 to 2021. (Screenshot from meeting)

 

In 2021, the bylaw enforcement department received 607 inquiries on the township’s bylaws and 325 complaints were investigated as alleged violations, according to the report.

Of the 325 bylaw complaints received last year, 253 have been closed as of the end of 2021 and 72 currently remain under investigation.

Areas with a higher number of complaints included parking (49), property standards (48) and  zoning (48).

The majority of the complaints received required a full investigation, the report states.

“The township has managed to obtain compliance on the majority of the complaints received and is working towards obtaining full compliance on the remaining properties,” the report notes.

An overview of open and closed complaints in the township from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. (Screenshot from meeting)

 

“So far we’re doing pretty well with catching up with the complaints because the end of the year gets a little bit quieter,” Lunevski noted.

“I’m happy to hear that council approved the full-time position for Guelph/Eramosa.”

The position was approved as part of the township’s 2022 budget.

“That’s going to give us an opportunity to be able to get a prompt response for our community,” said Lunevski.

“That’s almost one a day in terms of the numbers there,” Mayor Chris White pointed out.

“We’ll be pleased to have that full-time service.”

To view the full report, visit the township’s website.


Global News: Kitchener

Sarnia, Ont. woman escapes without injury after almost being crushed in garbage truck

At around 6 a.m. Monday morning, Sarnia police say they received an urgent call regarding a person in the back of a garbage truck yelling.

The Record

Waterloo Region risks losing affordable housing as mortgages end


WATERLOO REGION — The Region of Waterloo is facing the risk of losing many older affordable housing units as their mortgages wind up over the next decade.

With the Region seeing soaring home costs, declining rental vacancy and more than 6,500 families on the wait-list for an affordable unit, housing officials want to do everything they can to retain existing affordable units and encourage new ones, said Jennifer Murdoch-Martin, manager of housing programs and development at the Region

About 3,200 community housing units (out of almost 10,000 in the Region’s affordable housing system) were built in the region about 20-30 years ago, as part of a construction boom in government-sponsored affordable housing.

Now, decades later, the mortgages are ending, ushering in a new era in community housing for those properties, which are run by 28 co-ops and non-profits.

The expiry of those mortgages is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, there’s the risk of losing some existing affordable housing: new provincial rules allow housing providers to opt out of the agreements they have with the Region once the mortgages wrap up.

But there’s also an opportunity. The Region will spend $24.7 million this year operating non-profit and co-op housing. The bulk of that — $17.6 million — goes to pay the mortgages. As those mortgages wind up, it frees up money that can be spent to strengthen and grow that housing, Murdoch-Martin said.

“We want to encourage and do everything we can to keep housing providers as part of the housing system,” Murdoch-Martin said. “Protecting and retaining existing community housing is as important as encouraging new development.”

Coun. Tom Galloway worries that some non-profits might choose to sell. “There are private investors who are very proactively seeking out these properties to turn them around out of affordable housing into profitable housing at market rent,” Galloway said when councillors got an update this week on the issue. “Anything we can do to forestall that would be great.”

“It’s a possibility,” said Ryan Pettipiere, the Region’s director of housing. “This is one of the concerns that we have. ... We’re trying to do our best to protect these community assets and community investments to remain in the system — and not just remain but to stabilize, and offer them the opportunity to grow and get back to really what their original intent was 20 years ago upon incorporating.”

Providers range from an 18-unit co-op to organizations like Kitchener Housing and Cambridge Non-Profit Housing which have hundreds of units in multiple buildings. Some providers may be struggling, while others are keen to expand, she said.

A top priority is ensuring the buildings are solid and safe — audits have shown there’s a shortfall of about $142 million for building repairs and maintenance. Money could also be used for tenant supports to address neighbour disputes, mental health, hoarding or other issues. It could also fund training to strengthen volunteer boards.

“Providing truly affordable housing is expensive,” said Coun. Elizabeth Clarke at the meeting. “I don’t think we can simply assume all providers are going to be fine when they’re no longer getting this (mortgage) assistance and can continue to deliver affordable housing.”

Catherine Thompson is a Waterloo Region-based reporter focusing on urban affairs for The Record. Reach her via email: cthompson@therecord.com


Global News: Kitchener

Ontario to receive 10,000 courses of Pfizer’s Paxlovid COVID-19 pill in January

Health Canada announced Monday it has approved Paxlovid, the oral anti-viral pill from Pfizer.

The Record

Waterloo Region hospitals treating 136 patients with COVID in all-time high


WATERLOO REGION — The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has surged again to a record as the Omicron variant spreads through the community causing more infections and deaths.

Three hospitals in the region reported 136 patients with the disease by Saturday, the most by far since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. The high in a previous wave was 79 patients in May 2020.

Patients requiring intensive care climbed to 17, a high not seen since last July when the Delta variant of the coronavirus tore through the community.

Under provincial directive, hospitals have delayed non-emergency surgeries to maintain the beds and staffing needed to treat COVID patients.

Unvaccinated residents are placing a disproportionate burden on local hospitals, recent admission data shows.

Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, unvaccinated residents were almost four times more likely to be admitted for COVID treatment than people who are fully or partly vaccinated. Unvaccinated residents were almost 13 times more likely to require intensive care.

This is based on 42 hospital admissions and four intensive care admissions to Waterloo Region hospitals over a two-week period.

The regional public health unit reported two more COVID deaths Monday. That’s two deaths short of the number reported in provincial data. The numbers are based on different reporting periods and will eventually reconcile.

Another 1,272 cases were reported over three days which understates actual infections because of testing restrictions.

The latest data shows the disease is continuing to spread into nursing and retirement homes where there are now 38 active outbreaks. These outbreaks have now killed six people, one more than previously reported.

There are 28 active outbreaks in unidentified congregate settings and eight active outbreaks across various units in all three local hospitals.

In total that’s six more outbreaks than last reported Friday.

Jeff Outhit is a Waterloo Region-based general assignment reporter for The Record. Reach him via email: jouthit@therecord.com


Wellington Advertiser

WDGPH: Anyone 18 years-old and up now eligible for drop-in booster doses

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has expanded eligibility for drop-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics as of Jan. 14.

Booster dose drop-ins

Those who are at least 18 years of age and older are now eligible to drop-in to a vaccine clinic and receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose, provided 84 days has passed since a second dose. Previously the age limit was restricted to those at least 60 years-old.

Health care workers, education staff (including bus drivers), child care educators/staff (including unlicensed care providers), pregnant persons, and emergency workers are also able to drop in for a third vaccine dose.

First/second dose drop-ins

Anyone aged five and up is eligible to drop-in for a first or second dose, provided at least 21 days have elapsed between first and second doses. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends allowing eight weeks between first and second doses.

For children aged five to 11, a child-sized formulation of Pfizer will be administered.

For those aged 12 to 29, an adult Pfizer dose will be administered.

Adults aged 30 and over will receive Moderna for their vaccines because of local Pfizer supply limitations.

For a detailed list of all drop-in clinics, including operating hours, click here.

Appointments for booster doses

Appointments for third doses are, as of Jan. 13, needed for anyone between 18 and 59 (those under 18 are not eligible).

Appointments can be booked online or by calling 1-844-780-0202.


Wellington Advertiser

WDGPH reports 43 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in region

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) has reported 493 new COVID-19 cases between Jan. 14 and 16.

As of Jan. 17, active cases sat at 1,255 after hitting an all-time high of 2,972 cases on Jan. 4.

Public Health Ontario cautions case counts are an “underestimate of the true number of individuals with COVID-19” in the province due to the narrowing of testing eligibility to only high-risk individuals who are symptomatic and/or are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, meaning not all positive cases are known to health officials or identified.

The case rate per 100,000 population was 319.6 on Jan. 15, a decrease from 725.3 observed between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2.

The rate of COVID-19 tests returning positive for the virus was 23.3% on Jan. 13, trending downward after reaching 32.1 on Dec. 31.

The region’s effective reproduction number, used to measure how many additional cases spread or result from a single case, sat at 1.03 as of Jan. 15. A value of one or above means cases will increase; below one and spread will eventually cease.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region has increased from 30 to 43 – an all-time high – from Jan. 9 to 15.

Of those individuals, 33 are in acute care and an all-time high of 10 are admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in either Guelph or Orangeville. Acute care occupancy levels reached 94% on Saturday and ICUs were 88% occupied.

The previous all-time high for COVID hospitalizations in the region was 24, set in April of 2021, when nine people were in an ICU.

Vaccination status of those hospitalized are not disclosed locally.

According to provincial data, as of the morning on Jan. 17, there are 934 unvaccinated persons hospitalized with COVID-19 across the province, of which 195 are in an ICU. In contrast, there are 2,246 two-dose vaccinated persons hospitalized across the province, of which 196 are in an ICU.

Considering about 82% of eligible Ontarians are vaccinated with at least two doses, data from the Ontario Science Table indicates that as of Jan. 17 unvaccinated individuals are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and over 12 times more likely to end up in an ICU than those who are vaccinated.

Omicron variant

WDGPH identified the region’s first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on Dec. 9 in a fully-vaccinated Guelph male aged 12 to 20.

According to Public Health Ontario (PHO) data, as of Dec. 29 (the latest available) there have been 574 Omicron cases identified by either “complete genomic analysis” or  “S-gene target failure” in the health region.

WDGPH estimates Omicron represented 99% of all COVID-19 cases on Jan. 16 in the health region.

Local trends

Wellington County had 128 newly-confirmed cases over the Jan. 15 to 17 reporting period, bringing the total active cases to 363 in the county as of Jan. 17.

There were 562 active cases in Guelph and 276 in Dufferin County as of Jan. 17.

There has been an additional COVID-related death in the region reported by WDGPH as of Jan. 17, bringing the death toll to 133 people, including 41 from the county.

Vaccinations

Since Jan. 11, another 2,073 people have become two-dose vaccinated in the WDGPH region, bringing the total as of Jan. 17 to 246,476 or 83.5% of the population aged five or older.

There are 15,753 people aged five or older in the region who have received a first dose, as of Jan. 17.

According to Ontario’s COVID-19 Advisory Science Table data, as of Jan. 17, there were 992 new cases every day per million people in those unvaccinated, and 516 cases per day in those with at least two doses.

The data concludes there’s a 48% reduction in the risk of contracting a case with two vaccine doses. The reduction in the risk of being hospitalized with two doses is 80%.

In Wellington County 82.4% of eligible residents are two-dose vaccinated as of Jan. 17.

Less than 70% of residents in Mapleton are vaccinated, and it remains the only municipality within the county below that threshold.

Across the region, according to WDGPH data, there are an estimated 11,292 high school students who are vaccinated with two doses; 284 with only a single dose; and 1,980 students who have not yet received a single dose.

In elementary schools in the WDGPH catchment area, there are an estimated 30,030 students who are now eligible for vaccination, according to WDGPH data.

Of that group, 9,790 elementary students are at least vaccinated with a single dose, and 8,438 are two-dose vaccinated. The remaining 11,802 students have not yet received a single dose.

Outbreaks

As of Jan. 17, outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared in 20 long-term care or retirement settings and one hospital throughout the WDGPH region.


Global News: Kitchener

Kitchener. Waterloo extend on-street parking bans through Tuesday

The City of Kitchener has announced that its snow event has been extended an extra 24 hours and will now last right through Tuesday.

The Record

University of Waterloo postpones in-person learning until next month


WATERLOO REGION — The University of Waterloo is pushing back the date when in-person learning will resume at the school.

Earlier in the month, the university announced that most teaching, learning and work — with some exceptions, such as labs — would happen online until Jan. 27. On Monday, the school announced it would extend the current remote learning and working arrangements until at least Feb. 7.

The uncertainty brought by the latest wave of COVID-19 has contributed to this decision, the announcement said.

The university said it intends to provide notice of the return to in-person learning at least 14 days in advance. On Feb. 2, a president’s forum event will be held to discuss the latest information on the return to in-person experiences.

As of Monday afternoon, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College are scheduled to reopen campuses for in-person learning on Jan. 31.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the University of Waterloo has been running some in-person activities, such as labs.


The Record

Lifetimes: Adri Demrovsky remembered as a friend to everyone


On Christmas morning 2021, a light that shone brightly for two decades went dark, leaving a family, indeed an entire community, in mourning.

Adrianna Demrovsky, known as Adri, was only 22, yet the legacy she left is remarkable given the challenges she faced her entire life living with autism and epilepsy.

Adri was born into a family of deep faith. She often wondered why God would have limited her life in this way. She’d say, “why did God make me special needs?” remembered her brother, Alex Demrovsky.

The answer would come after she died, as countless people came forward telling stories of how Adri impacted their lives.

“The outpouring — we had no idea,” said mom, Donna Demrovsky.

You see, it was impossible to feel sorry for yourself or sink into sadness when Adri was around. Alex said his sister had exceptional emotional intelligence. She could cue in when anyone was suffering and would be the first to offer a hug.

“She loved everyone,” said Alex. “She always connected to other people, only accepting that people were loved, people were happy.”

Donna said Adri could not contain these emotions and often said, “I feel everybody in my heart Mommy.” It could be a friend or someone just met, a complete stranger.

Adri was born on May 15, 1999, to Peter and Donna Demrovsky, the youngest of three children. In her early years, Adri attended programs at KidsAbility, where therapists targeted her needs to help the child reach maximum potential. There would be several exceptional therapists and teachers throughout her life, and given her loving personality, Donna said everyone wanted to help her.

Adri was initially diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, now known as an autism spectrum disorder. Around age eight, she was also diagnosed with epilepsy and would suffer seizures most of her life, sometimes going weeks without an episode. Other times, she’d be hit in rapid-fire succession.

This did nothing to diminish Adri’s desire to be engaged in her community. As a student in the special education program at Preston High School, Adri volunteered in the community with the assistance of a personal support worker. Alex said her favourite volunteer job was a day camp.

“She was happiest, so proud to have been given responsibilities,” said Alex. “It made her feel valued.”

What Adri wanted was to someday become a staff member, not just a volunteer.

Alex said his sister was aware hers was “not going to be a normal life,” and she watched her older brothers get married, start families. Though this wouldn’t be Adri’s path, she adored her nieces.

“Anything to do with family or friends got her super excited,” said Alex.

And as Christmas approached, was Adri looking forward to the celebrations? Alex said yes, but not because of presents.

Adri was “the least materialistic person I knew.” The only possession she truly valued was her phone and only because it gave her a tool to keep in touch with friends and family. Every day, all those in her circle received messages of love. The phone also helped improve her reading and writing skills, a bonus for a girl that had struggled in school.

Adri graduated from high school just before COVID-19 hit, so her first taste of adult life was subdued by all the restrictions. She was particularly saddened when the Kitchener Ice Pirates, a special needs hockey program, closed down.

Alex played Jr. B hockey, his jersey number, 44, the same number given to his sister when she joined the Ice Pirates as an 11-year-old.

Team coaches were united in stating that Adri exhibited inclusiveness and a compassionate and positive attitude. She was everyone’s friend, but Adri was also competitive, determined to match her brother Alex’s scoring abilities.

Adri was a determined young woman, teaching herself to use social media, to text, ride a bike, skate, ski.

“She wanted to be an artist,” said Donna, remembering her daughter was aware that her initial drawings were not good. So, she set out to change that, watching YouTube videos on how to draw a cat. Over and over, Adri would follow the instructions and practice.

“She became quite good, but she pushed herself,” said Donna.

Adri attended Light House Adult Day Program where she made even more friends.

Co-founder of Light House, Kyle Craig, recalled Adri “was a happy, positive person.”

Though he has worked with dozens of people over the years, Adri was special, particularly how she taught him about being selfless.

“She made me appreciate life,” he said.

Alex’s wife, Taylor Demrovsky, said “There were no boundaries when it came to her heart.

“Her purpose in life was to love everybody she met.”

Adri died on Dec. 25, 2021.

Freelance writer Valerie Hill is a former Record reporter. She can be reached by email at vmhill296@gmail.com


Wellington Advertiser

Chimney fire results in $200,000 damage to Minto house

MINTO – Fire officials are reminding residents about the importance of regular chimney and fireplace maintenance after a chimney fire resulted in around $200,000 damage to a local house on the weekend.

Minto firefighters from the Harriston station responded to a report of a chimney fire at a rural residence on 12th Line east of Harriston at around 12:30pm on Jan. 16.

Upon arrival, firefighters found flames venting out some second-storey windows.

All occupants were out of the building by the time firefighters arrived and no injuries were reported, states a press release issued by Minto Fire on Jan. 17.

Palmerston and Clifford Stations were dispatched to the incident and mutual aid from Wellington North Fire Service was provided as well.

“The fire started in the wall of the chimney and travelled into the attic, making it difficult to suppress especially during harsh winter conditions,” states deputy chief Callise Loos in the press release.

Approximately 40 firefighters from five stations battled the blaze.

The 12th Line was closed between Pike Lake Road and Wellington Road 6 for about two hours while firefighters were on scene.

The cause of the fire has been deemed accidental with damage estimated at $200,000.

Loos told the Advertiser the house was not habitable following the blaze and the occupants are staying with family members.

“There were about 60 family members and friends from their community that came to help the family out,” she stated.

Following the incident, Minto Fire issued a reminder about the importance of regular maintenance of chimneys and fireplaces, including the following safety tips:

  • clean your firebox after every fire;
  • keep your chimney maintained;
  • ensure no fuels, such as newspaper, tissues, blankets or kindling, are within one metre of the fireplace;
  • use a fireplace screen;
  • never leave a fire unattended;
  • position logs near the back of the fireplace;
  • install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home;
  • keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

“Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of fire during the cold winter months is the fireplace,” states Loos in the release.

“Please be vigilant and protect your home and family from such threat.”


The Record

Three teens wanted in Waterloo assault investigation


WATERLOO — Police are looking for three young suspects in connection to a reported assault that sent two people to hospital over the weekend.

On Saturday just before midnight, Waterloo Regional Police were called to Laurelwood Commons shopping mall at 600 Laurelwood Drive in Waterloo for reports of an assault.

Three male suspects used weapons during the incident before fleeing in a white, older-model sedan, police said. The two victims were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police describe one suspect as a white male, roughly six-feet-tall, around 16 to 18 years old, with a medium/muscular build. He was seen wearing a black jacket and light-blue jeans.

Another suspect is described as a Black male, standing six-feet-tall, 18 years old with a medium/muscular build, with facial hair.

The third suspect is described as a 16- or 17-year-old male, standing five-foot-eight, wearing a red hoodie with a black face mask.

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact investigators at 519-570-9777. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


Global News: Kitchener

Premier Doug Ford helps drivers dig out, gives people rides as massive storm hits southern Ontario

Premier Doug Ford was driving around Etobicoke Monday helping drivers who got stuck and giving people rides after a massive snowstorm hit much of southern Ontario.

CTV News Kitchener

Vaccine clinics cancelled due to snow

From CTV Kitchener's Jeff Pickel: Some vaccine clinics were forced to close Monday due to the snowstorm.

CTV News Kitchener

Major roadways closed in GTA

From CTV Kitchener's Krista Simpson: Two major highways closed in the GTA because of Monday morning's snowfall.

CTV News Kitchener

Snowstorm hits southwestern Ontario

From CTV Kitchener's Carmen Wong: A snowstorm hit southern Ontario on Monday, bringing upwards of 20 centimetres in some areas.

Global News: Kitchener

Kitchener man charged in fatal October crash on Shantz Hill Road in Cambridge

Waterloo Regional Police have laid charges in connection to a collision which occurred last October which left a London man dead.

Global News: Kitchener

Guelph Storm win in return to the ice following COVID postponements

It has been nearly a month since the Guelph Storm played hockey, but the team beat the Kitchener Rangers 7-4 on Sunday.

Wellington Advertiser

Town of Erin issues significant weather statement

ERIN – Due to forecasted and observed weather conditions, the Town of Erin has declared a significant weather event.

The statement, effective 7am, was issued Jan. 17 on the town’s website in accordance with the province’s Minimum Maintenance Standards.

 

“Please note that the declaration of a significant weather event is not a notice of a reduced level of service or a road closure,” town officials say.

“The declaration is to notify the public that due to the current or forecasted conditions, caution is to be observed when traveling on roads and using sidewalks maintained by the Town of Erin as they are in a state of repair until an end to the significant weather event is declared.”

Officials are urging residents to use caution and allow extra time to reach destinations.

For more information on the town’s winter maintenance program, visit www.erin.ca.


Global News: Kitchener

Winter storm affecting COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Waterloo Region

The vaccination clinic at 3710 Nafziger Rd. in Wellesley has closed for the day while the one hosted by Hourglass HR at 99 Regina St. S. in Waterloo has been cancelled.

Global News: Kitchener

3,887 people in Ontario hospitals with COVID, 578 in intensive care

The latest figures released by the Ontario government Monday morning show there are 3,887 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 578 of them in intensive care.

The Record

Kitchener man, 26, charged in fatal collision in Cambridge


CAMBRIDGE — A Kitchener man is facing charges in connection to a fatal collision on Shantz Hill Road that claimed the life of a 25-year-old in the fall.

On Oct. 21, police were called to Shantz Hill Road near Preston Parkway for a single-vehicle crash. At around 3 a.m., the driver of a white Lexus had lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck a hydro pole.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Waterloo Regional Police said through an investigation, it was determined that two vehicles were involved in this collision. The two vehicles were travelling east when one of the vehicles left the roadway.

On Saturday, police arrested the driver of the other vehicle.

A 26-year-old Kitchener man is facing charges of stunt driving and dangerous operation — causing death.

He’s scheduled to be in court on March 4.

Chris Seto is a Waterloo Region-based reporter for The Record. Reach him via email: cseto@therecord.com


Global News: Kitchener

14-year-old girl charged in Guelph stabbing: police

Guelph police say a 14-year-old girl has been charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon following a stabbing on Friday afternoon.