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Good morning, Sudbury! Here are seven stories to start your day

Here's what's happening around Greater Sudbury today
2020-05-28 Merrilee Fullerton
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario's Minister of Long-Term Care, said Monday the changes for long-term care homes in Ontario were needed long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and began taking thousands of lives of senior citizens. (File)

Good morning, Greater Sudbury.

Here are some stories to start your day.

Long-Term Care minister cuts news conference short responding to criticisms in commission report:

Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario's Minister of Long-Term Care, said Monday the changes for long-term care homes in Ontario were needed long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and began taking thousands of lives of senior citizens. Fullerton was taking part in an online news briefing in response to the release of the final report of Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, which was tabled on Friday. Fullerton spoke to the commission report and criticisms, but cut the event short after 21 minutes. The events normally run 45 minutes to an hour long. "Of all COVID-19 deaths in Ontario in 2020, 61 per cent were long-term care residents. By the end of April 2020, 11 staff and almost 4,000 residents in Ontario's long-term care homes had died," said the report. Fullerton denied a previous media report that quoted her as saying last fall that COVID-19 was comparable to a bad flu year "I never did compare COVID-19 to the flu. That was not a comparison. What I was suggesting at the time was, you know, we have to improve long-term care. Deaths in long-term care due to infections and outbreaks have been going on for many years and I certainly would have to refute that statement," said Fullerton, who is also a physician. She said she knows the issues in long-term care and said one of her parents was in long-term care. "I think we should all collectively want to make this better and why it has taken a pandemic to reach this point I can't quite understand," said Fullerton. "I know I am fixing this problem. Our government is fixing this problem. My heart goes out to everyone who has been impacted," she added. You can watch Monday's press conference here.

Pro-choice coalition buys billboards in response to anti-abortion bus ads:

In the wake of an anti-abortion advertisement added to a GOVA Sudbury transit bus, the Sudbury Pro-Choice Coalition formed and began fundraising to add their voice to the conversation on abortion. Now, after the immense success of that campaign, two pro-choice billboards designed by the group will be a part of the city’s landscape. “The coalition’s pro-choice position is that nobody should be shamed for the decisions they make about their reproductive health,” reads the statement from the Sudbury Pro-Choice Coalition on their GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $2,000. “Canada does not require laws restricting or otherwise regulating abortion. Abortion, like any other medical procedure, should be regulated by the medical community. Knowledgeable healthcare providers must have the freedom to draft evidence-based policy that provides for their patients’ best interests.” The fundraiser is organised under the name Gerri Santoro, a pseudonym used by the coalition for the GoFundMe campaign. The name isn't a random one. Gerri Santoro was a real person, a woman who died in 1964 after receiving a back-alley abortion. Her story brought to light the many dangers of what are known as “illegal” or “unsafe” abortions — those pursued when legal options are unavailable or not considered an option. Find the full story here.

Public Health Sudbury reports five new cases of COVID-19 for Monday May 3:

Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) reports five new cases of COVID-19 for today, Monday May 3. Public Health also said there are now 81 active cases being monitored by public health. Also, since the PHSD began tracking COVID-19 cases just over 13 months ago, there have been 1,965 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 1,884 of those cases have now been resolved. With respect to where the newest COVID-19 cases might have occurred, the PHSD daily update page reported that five cases were found in the Greater Sudbury area. In terms of possible causes of the new and recent cases, PHSD reported four cases linked to close contact of a confirmed case, two cases of no known epidemiological link,  and one case listed as under investigation. On the provincial COVID-19 register Monday, the Ontario government daily website reported 3,436 new confirmed COVID-19 cases across the province. 

Sudbury man killed in motorcycle crash on Maley Drive:

A 44-year-old man is dead following a fatal crash on Maley Drive on May 2, said Greater Sudbury Police. Officers responded to a call around 11:30 p.m. last night involving a motorcycle crash at the roundabout at Lansing Avenue. Police, firefighters and paramedics were dispatched. Paramedics found the driver unresponsive. He was taken to Health Sciences North, where he was pronounced dead. His name will not be released out of respect for his family’s wishes. “Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends,” said GSPS in a news release. Through the investigation, it has been determined the motorcycle was traveling east on Maley Drive when the driver lost control of the bike, leading to the single vehicle collision, said police. Members of the traffic management unit continue to investigate this incident. Anyone with information related to the collision is asked to contact Greater Sudbury Police at 705-675-9171.

Residential fire closes Melvin Avenue on Monday afternoon:

Melvin Avenue at Kathleen Street in the Donovan was closed for a few hours on Monday afternoon due to a house fire. Deputy fire chief Jesse Oshell said firefighters were called to the Melvin Street home at 1:50 p.m. after the fire started in the basement walkout area of the building. A cause has yet to be determined. The fire was extinguished by GSFS crews and the four residents suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation, said Oshell. There is significant fire damage to the area of the home where the fire started, and there is significant smoke damage throughout the entire building.

Courts OK Laurentian’s insolvency plans, reject arguments from federated universities:

The courts have given their approval to Laurentian University’s restructuring plans, allowing it to continue to operate until at least the end of August. After declaring insolvency, Laurentian University has been undergoing court-supervised restructuring under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act (CCAA) since Feb. 1. The court decisions clearing the way for Laurentian were issued by Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz and Justice Cory Gilmore late Sunday, ensuring that the first day of LU’s spring term classes can go ahead today. Laurentian was in court last week, asking for a stay of proceedings protecting it from its creditors until Aug. 31, along with the approval of a further $10 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) interim financing loan to bring it through to the end of the summer (on top of a previous $25 million DIP loan) and recent cuts to its unionized employees. The DIP loan also had as one of its terms the severing of ties with Laurentian’s three federated universities. Laurentian said it needs the roughly $7 million per year that is transferred to the federated universities, and is able to educate the students who take courses at these institutions in-house. Two of those federated universities, Thorneloe University and the University of Sudbury, were also in court last week, fighting those plans. Get the full story here.

Thorneloe U. says it will appeal ‘devastating’ May 2 court decision:

Thorneloe University said it will appeal a May 2 court decision that allows Laurentian University to terminate the more than 60-year-old agreement with the three federated universities operating on campus. In decisions released late Sunday, the courts also approved a stay of proceedings protecting Laurentian from its creditors until Aug. 31 as well as a further $10 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan that gives it enough money to operate for another four months. The terms of the aforementioned DIP loan taken out by Laurentian had as one of its terms the severing of ties with the three federated universities, Thorneloe as well as Huntington University and the University of Sudbury. Laurentian said it needs the roughly $7 million per year that is transferred to the federated universities, which offered classes that counted toward Laurentian degrees. Both Thorneloe and the University of Sudbury went to court last week to fight Laurentian’s plans with regards to the federated universities. But motions brought forward by Thorneloe and the University of Sudbury that sought to disrupt Laurentian’s plans were denied by the courts. Full story can be found here.

Tuesday Weather:

Cool day ahead with rain showers expected throughout the day. Cloudy skies overhead with rain to start the day. Up to 10 mm of rain could fall by the afternoon. Daytime high will only get up to 7 today. There's a 40 per cent chance of rain this evening. Overnight low will drop down to 2. For current weather conditions, short-term and long-term forecasts visit Sudbury.com's weather page at www.sudbury.com/weather.