Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Wednesday morning.
Nickel Belt MP won’t let assault stop him from campaigning
With Sept. 20 and the next federal election only days away, Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré said he would not let something like being assaulted at his campaign office keep him from seeking re-election in the Nickel Belt riding. Serré was assaulted by a 56-year-old woman on Sept. 13 at his campaign office, Greater Sudbury Police said today. It is alleged the woman entered the premises and began yelling at Serré and his volunteers. She then became more hostile, and used a table to pin the Liberal incumbent against a wall. At one point, she struck Serré’s hand with her cellphone as he tried to record the altercation with his own cellphone, said police. She left the campaign office, only to confront Serre once again as he was attempting to leave. He was in his vehicle when she jumped in front of him and started striking the hood of his vehicle. Police were called immediately, said Serré. The woman is now charged with assault with a weapon and will answer to her charges on Nov. 17. Serré said the woman had all kinds of issues she brought up during the altercation, but didn’t want to get into any specifics. He said he does not think it is linked to any of the anti-vaccine groups and their protests taking place across the city.“I had two other people in the office with me at the time, and their safety was most important to me,” Serré said. “We tried to keep the situation calm, and let her express her concerns, and it’s an incident we now have to deal with, but I will let the police do their work.”
Greater Sudbury looks to expand its legal graffiti wall project
There could soon be more legal graffiti walls in Greater Sudbury, with the city’s elected officials appearing receptive to a plan that would allow for more of them to be created. “This is a fantastic idea,” Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre said during Monday’s city planning committee meeting, crediting the efforts of the Up Here organization with helping beautify the city, from green electrical boxes to large-scale murals. Up for review was a report by Greater Sudbury senior planner Ed Landry, who deemed a legal graffiti wall pilot project at the back lane of 71 Cedar Street downtown to be a success. The five-member committee voted unanimously on two motions that would welcome more legal graffiti to take place on the walls of buildings throughout the municipality, which city council will consider at a future meeting. But, given that all five members of the planning committee also serve on the 13-member city council, it appears likely to become a reality.The existing graffiti wall, which council approved as a pilot project in 2018, has been a boon to the community and has even resulted in graffiti artists travelling from other cities to participate.
Sudbury teen Sophia Mathur named International Young Eco-Hero
Greater Sudbury teen Sophia Mathur is one of 25 young environmental activists from across the globe honored by Action For Nature (AFN) as a 2021 International Young Eco-Hero. The award recognizes eco-conscious youth ages eight to 16 who are taking crucial steps to solve tough environmental problems. Winners of the International Young Eco-Hero Award are selected by a panel of independent judges, including experts in environmental science, biology, and education. Since 2003, Action For Nature has recognized more than 300 Eco-Heroes from over 30 countries and 25 U.S. states. Sophia, who is 14, won the Climate Change Activist award in the 8-14 year-old category. Inspired by her family, Sophia began lobbying politicians on environmental issues at age seven. She has successfully lobbied the City of Greater Sudbury to declare a climate emergency, urged Canadian Ministers to adopt carbon pricing, and lobbied her MP, Paul Lefebvre, for border carbon adjustments. Currently, Sophia is the lead youth plaintiff in an Ecojustice lawsuit against the Ontario government for weakening Ontario's 2030 climate target. And during the COVID-19 pandemic she has hosted virtual events with MPs, MPPs, Senators and has asked Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland direct questions about their climate plans. “Kids like Sophia have shown that the next generation of leaders is here, and they are refusing to wait to solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges,” said Beryl Kay, president of Action For Nature, an international non-profit organization that encourages young people to nurture a love and respect for the Earth and to take personal action to improve the environment. “The work of these young people will not only have real, positive impacts on their communities, they will also help solve global climate challenges and inspire others – no matter what age – to consider what they can do to help.” “My goal is to create the political will to enact science-based policies to solve the climate crises,” said Sophia. “I ask that politicians listen to the experts and cooperate to protect the future of this amazing planet.” To read more about Sophia’s work, visit facebook.com/FFFGreaterSudbury. To learn more about this year’s International Young Eco-Hero Award winners, visit actionfornature.org/eco-hero-awards/2021-awards.
Ontario details rapid testing protocol for school boards as schools report cases
Ontario school boards received more details from the province Monday regarding protocols for unvaccinated staff who must take twice-weekly rapid COVID-19 tests before coming to work. A memo sent to boards by the deputy education minister said testing is to be done at home, and no more than 48 hours before coming to work. There should be at least three days between tests, the memo said. It listed Monday and Thursday, Friday and Tuesday, or Sunday and Wednesday as examples of a regular schedule for testing. Boards were directed to share the details with unvaccinated staff. The province has instructed all boards to introduce vaccination policies requiring workers to regularly get tested for the virus in lieu of vaccination, with a deadline of Sept. 27 to implement the new rules.
Ontario releases more details on COVID-19 vaccine passport
With a week to go until Ontario implements a COVID-19 vaccine passport, more details have been revealed on how it will work. Today, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott unveiled details such as acceptable IDs, exemptions to the rules and enforcement. Starting Wednesday, Sept. 22 people will need to be fully vaccinated to visit high-risk public indoor spaces. People are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their second dose. If you had your second dose Sept. 8 or earlier, you'll be able to visit the affected settings when the passport goes into effect. Proof of vaccination will not be required for medical care, food from grocery stores and basic medical supplies. “High rates of vaccination against COVID-19 are critical to helping protect our communities and hospital capacity while keeping Ontario schools and businesses safely open,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a news release. “As we continue our last mile push to increase vaccination rates, requiring proof of immunization in select settings will encourage even more Ontarians to receive the vaccine and stop the spread of COVID-19. If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please sign up today.”
Public Health Sudbury reports two new COVID-19 cases for Sept. 14
Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) has reported two new cases of COVID-19 in the jurisdiction for Sept. 14. The health unit is also reporting there are now 47 active cases being monitored. Also, since the PHSD began tracking COVID-19 cases just over 18 months ago, there have been 2,345 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 2,298 of those cases are now resolved. Public Health Ontario reported 577 new COVID cases today for Sept. 13. The latest updates noted 683 recoveries. The report includes six deaths that have occurred in the last month, and one death that occurred more than one month ago (for a total of seven deaths).
Cloudy skies and a chance of rain for Wednesday
Today’s weather will be mainly cloudy with a 30-per-cent chance of showers. The wind will blow from the west 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon then light in the afternoon. The high for the day is 19 C. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight, the clouds will begin to clear with fog patches developing after midnight. Low 8.