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Steelworker donations in 2020 total $233K
Sault Ste. Marie and area United Steelworkers locals donated $232,576 to various charities in 2020. Among the charities to benefit are Algoma District School Board’s and Huron Superior Catholic Board’s breakfast programs, ARCH, Pauline’s Place, Royal Canadian Legion, Sault Area Hospital, Soup Kitchen, The Twinkie Foundation, St. Vincent Place and Women in Crisis, says a media release. USW also offered members eight courses despite the pandemic in 2020. The courses included stewards training, financial officers training, mental health (offered through Prevention Link) and Unionism on Turtle Island. The eight does not include union orientation courses presented by the locals at various workplaces. District 6 co-ordinator Marc Ayotte says in the release, “Going forward, in addition to serving our members, the Steelworkers will continue to help local charities and organizations in the community. Serving our members involves more than just their jobs. It also involves trying to improve things that affect the day to day lives of our members and their loved ones.” From a media release
Landfill, hazardous waste depot open
The current Ontario-wide lockdown hasn’t affected Sault Ste. Marie waste and recycling collection, nor will it halt normal spring operations. The city’s Household Hazardous Waste Depot has opened for the season Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., says a media release from the Public Works and Engineering Department. Items such as paint, varnishes, pesticides, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, motor oil, antifreeze, propane cylinders and electronics are accepted. For a complete list of acceptable waste visit www.saultstemarie.ca/hhw. All services provided by the Hazardous Waste Depot are free of charge to Algoma District residents and no gate fee is charged. The landfill at 402 Fifth Line East is open for the season. Hours are Monday to Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A gate fee of $11 applies to all loads. Visit www.saultstemarie.ca/landfill for more information. Security will be on-site enforcing social distancing and public health recommendations including mandatory mask wearing, for the safety of staff and visitors. Expect vehicle lineups as space at drop-off bins is being limited, the release says. Leaf and yard waste begins Monday, May 3 for Collection A and Monday, May 10 for Collection B. To view the Leaf and Yard Waste Collection calendar visit www.saultstemarie.ca/collectioncalendar. From a media release
What can you plant in early spring?
It is such an early spring, with beautifully mild weather, that everyone is itching to plant. A word of caution though: be sure your soil has dried up enough to be workable before thinking about getting your hands in the dirt. If your vegetable garden is dry enough, add compost to get the area ready for planting. We are going to still see frost and maybe even some snow. It is just too early to put tender plants and seeds into the garden, so focus on cold hardy crops. I always get questions about planting strawberries and asparagus. Since both crops are hardy perennials, and will be a permanent part of your garden, take time to plan before planting. Planting a row of asparagus is an investment in the future. You will be starting with bare root crowns that will send up thin, wispy stocks for several years. It is especially important that you give the plants lots of time to get established. Be patient. You won’t be harvesting until stocks are the diameter of your baby finger. This can take up to three years. Planting from seed will take even longer. Plan a spot for your asparagus patch at the back of your bed or along a fence in a nice sunny spot. By mid-summer, the foliage can reach 5 feet tall. I have two rows planted at the back of my raised bed. The feathery foliage makes a beautiful backdrop for the rest of the garden. You can also establish an asparagus patch along a property line to define space. The tall foliage will give you a bit of privacy from the end of June to late fall. Here are some guidelines for planting: • Plant crowns deeply to protect them from the cultivation needed for annual weed control. • Dig a trench of about 12 to 18 inches wide and six to eight inches deep. If digging more than one trench, space the trenches at least three feet apart. • Work an inch of compost or composted manure into the bottom of the trench. • Soak the crowns briefly in lukewarm water before planting. • Make a two-inch-high ridge of soil along the center of the trench and place the asparagus crowns on top of the mound, spreading their roots out evenly. • Within the trench, space asparagus crowns 12 to 18 inches apart (measured from root tip to root tip). • Once you have spaced out the crowns, add two inches of soil, firm well to get rid of air pockets and gently water the trench. • As the stocks shoot up, slowly add more soil, two inches at a time, until the trench is filled in. • Plan to top dress your asparagus patch each year with an extra inch or two of compost. Hardy strawberry plants can also be planted in early spring. Choose a sunny area with well-drained soil for your strawberry patch. If your soil is heavy clay, a raised bed is the best option. Being a low crop, plan an area at the front of the garden or along the side of a building. Follow these guidelines for success: • Work compost into the soil in preparation for planting the strawberries. • Trim the bare roots of the strawberry plants to six inches with sharp scissors right before planting. • Dig a hole for the strawberry plants deep and wide enough to accommodate the roots without crowding. • Cover the strawberry roots with soil, leaving the crown exposed. A crown covered with soil will rot, damaging the plant. • Space the strawberry plants at least 14 inches apart. Leave at least two feet between rows of strawberries. • Water the bare-root strawberries immediately after planting. Keep the plants moist throughout the growing season.
SAHF 5 Car Draw returns with new options
Sault Area Hospital Foundation’s annual 5 Car Draw, after its cancellation in 2020, returns this year with online ticket sales. Supporters will be able to buy tickets online from anywhere in Ontario, says a media release from the hospital foundation. The procedure is similar to what works in the successful SAHF 50/50 monthly draws – tickets will be instantly delivered by email. SAHF hopes to return to physical ticket sales locations throughout May and June once the provincial state of emergency passes. The foundation will announce those locations on the website www.5car.ca , the release says. In-person sales will be via debit or credit cards only. This year’s draw will include more options for grand prize winners. SAHF introduced a cash option in 2019, when the foundation set a personal best in ticket sales, and all five winners chose cash. This year each grand prize winner will have three options: chose Vehicle 1, Vehicle 2 or a cash prize, the release says. Other changes include: • New bulk pricing on tickets – one ticket is still just $25 – but now purchasers can get three tickets for $65 or five tickets for $100. • A $10,000 early bird prize – drawing on Tuesday, May 11 at 11 a.m. (just after Mother’s Day). Lessons from 2020 went into the planning of this year’s draw “to make it the biggest (and, hopefully, most successful) yet,” says the release. Tickets for 5 Car Draw are on sale at www.5car.ca. SAHF encourages the community to use the online ticket sales option to purchase safely while still having a chance at the $10,000 early bird prize. “If you know someone that isn’t online but might like to purchase a ticket, and you can help them navigate the online feature, please do so. We want to make sure everyone that wants to support and participate can,” says Teresa Martone, executive director, SAHF. Full details on the draw, important dates, prizes and more can all be found on the www.5car.ca website. The grand prize draw will be held on Saturday, June 26, at 7 p.m. • GRAND PRIZE 1: Choice of 2021 Honda Civic Sedan Touring ($35,364.70 MSRP) supplied by Great Lakes Honda; 2021 Hyundai Tucson Preferred AWD ($39,396.51 MSRP) supplied by World Cars Hyundai; $25,000 cash. • GRAND PRIZE 2: Choice of 2021 Chevy Terrain 1.5L Turbo SLE AWD ($41,350.00 MSRP) supplied by Prouse Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac; 2021 Toyota Rav4 XLE Hybrid ($42,981.60 MSRP) supplied by Northside Toyota; $30,000 cash. • GRAND PRIZE 3: Choice of 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.5L Preferred AWD ($44,707.51 MSRP) supplied by World Cars Hyundai; 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend 4×4 ($45,972.92 MSRP) supplied by Maitland Ford Lincoln; $35,000 CASH • GRAND PRIZE 4: Choice of 2021 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab ZR2 Short Box ($61,034.69 MSRP) supplied by Prouse Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac; 2021 Honda Passport Touring ($59,954.77 MSRP) supplied by Great Lakes Honda; $50,000 cash. GRAND PRIZE 5: Choice of 2021 Toyota 4Runner Venture Ed. ($66,802.00 MSRP) supplied by Northside Toyota; 2021 Ford F150 XLT Supercrew ($67,798.87 MSRP) supplied by Maitland Ford Lincoln; $55,000 cash. Just 45,000 tickets are available. Funds raised will go toward purchase of a new MRI to replace the equipment purchased when Sault Area Hospital’s Great Northern Road site opened, the release says. Estimated cost of the MRI is $3.4 million. “This 5 Car Draw won’t cover the whole cost of a new MRI, but it’s going to give us a solid start to a multi-year fundraising effort. You aren’t just buying your 5 Car Draw ticket; you are helping keep that essential service available at our local hospital,” says Martone.
weather (Sault Ste. Marie)
Black Monday for Laurentian University
SUDBURY – Hundreds expressed sadness and anger through social media and an online forum Monday as Laurentian University revealed plans to axe nearly 70 programs and more than 100 faculty jobs. “It’s been a really hard day,” said Christopher Duncanson-Hales, in introducing a virtual town hall organized by the Save Our Sudbury coalition. “The purpose of this meeting is to give everyone a chance to listen to one another … to hear what our stories are and to keep those stories going.” So many people — among them professors and students, but also politicians, labour representatives and community members — joined in on the session that the Zoom limit of 100 participants was quickly overwhelmed and a new link had to be created. Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay, teared up while talking about the role Laurentian has played in his own family and the impact the proposed downsizing will have on the North. “My dad got the opportunity to go to school as an adult and became a professor, which was something that was impossible for the son of a miner,” he said. “Laurentian made that possible.” Angus called the cancellation of programs like midwifery an “attack on the North,” while also arguing inaction by the province has ramifications that go far beyond the region, and even Ontario. “To take an institution like Laurentian and sell it off like you’re at a yard sale, or treat it like a bankrupt company, has national importance,” he said. “Because if they do this at Laurentian, what’s going to happen when a health sciences department or a hospital runs into deficit? They’re establishing a precedent that you can take something we built up over 60 years and dismantle it.” Leo Gerard, a Sudbury native and former Steelworkers president, said he was involved in more than 40 bankruptcies over his career as a labour leader, but had “never seen anything like this.” He described Laurentian’s restructuring path via the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act as “some kind of arrangement facilitated by the government to find a rationale to attack public education.” The issue is not just one that pertains to Sudbury, he said, but to all of Northern Ontario. “Sixty-five per cent of Laurentian students are from Northern Ontario,” he said. “I see they are attacking engineering, and I have two nephews who graduated as mechanical engineers at Laurentian and who have made contributions to society.” Gerard also slammed the secrecy of the restructuring process, saying this too was not something he had encountered before in all his many labour negotiations. “They announced which programs they’re going to cancel without having talked to the people who administer those programs in any meaningful way,” he said. “This is more than an attack on Laurentian University and it’s important we not only get other members of parliament to support us, but we have to stress this is a Northern Ontario issue, a bilingual and First Nations issue.” In all, the university is poised to shed 58 undergraduate programs — 34 in English and 24 in French — while preserving 107, according to a release issued Monday afternoon. In addition, it plans to trim 11 graduate programs, keeping 33. Fabrice Colin, president of the Laurentian University Faculty Association, said he was not yet in a position to share the exact number of layoffs, while admitting the job losses will be substantial. “As you can see there are almost 60 programs impacted, so the number of faculty members who were teaching courses for each program is quite significant,” he said. “You can count at least one to two professors per program.” Brett Buchanan, a professor in the School of Environment, said through Twitter that he was being let go along with 100-plus colleagues and friends. “I’m gutted, sickened, and distraught for them, and for our students,” Buchanan tweeted. “This was utterly avoidable, and financial insolvency was a choice that was made.” Colin said members of the faculty association will meet today at 10:30 a.m. to vote on a new collective agreement, with a ratification meeting to be held at 7:30 p.m. He said LUFA would be connecting with members prior to the meeting to “tell them the actual number of faculty members laid off.” Colin said the past few months have been extremely stressful and frustrating, as professors knew cuts were coming but they were unable to negotiate or openly discuss the proposed changes. “We’re really frustrated by the confidentiality requirements as a result of the decision made to go down the road of the CCAA proceedings, instead of invoking the clauses of the collective agreement,” he said. “It would have been a perfectly transparent process, but unfortunately that’s not what they chose to do.” The faculty union also feels abandoned by Queen’s Park and in particular Ross Romano, the minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “This disaster today could have been avoided if the government decided to show up,” said Colin. “Ross Romano told us he would be there for Laurentian University but now the damage is done … It’s a disaster and the faculty members are the victims of financial mismanagement over the years, and chronic underfunding by the provincial government.” Colin said it was a “sad day” — not just for teachers and their families, but for students and the broader community. “It’s a major loss. These professors are passionate and dedicated in the work they do, but the university also has roots in the community, and these programs we are losing were serving students and the community.” Duncanson-Hales, who teaches philosophy through the University of Sudbury, said the programs identified Monday for cancellation only give a partial picture of the loss, as the list doesn’t include the many other courses — in Indigenous and women’s studies, for instance — that the federated schools will not be able to continue offering on their own, since Laurentian severed its connection with them. “They’d have to find their own registrations and compete with Laurentian for students,” he said. “Laurentian isn’t going to accept any of the programs so you could only take a student who is going to major in one of your programs, and you’d have to have degree-granting status, which would take at least two or three years. That would be as a private university, and you have to have funding.” The programs through U of S, Thorneloe and Huntingon “were serving a purpose and doing it well,” he said. “They weren’t costing the university money in the end. So this whole Laurentian 2.0 is more than just saving money — it’s about creating a vision of a university that is devoid of the humanities.” Duncanson-Hales said the loss of philosophy, labour studies and several environment programs hampers the ability of students to think critically and question impacts of industry. A course like philosophy is important “to understand what news and information we are receiving, to be good citizens,” he said. “It’s not just about teaching students; it’s about knowledge creation.” His fear is that, in scrapping courses in the arts, along with labour and environment programs, Laurentian is on the path to becoming primarily a “mining university.” The university argues, however, that academic offerings “will now be better tailored to the programs that most of our students gravitate towards.” The leaner suite will also allow LU to “further align its financial resources to ensure that all of its remaining programs are fully supported,” the university said. The school anticipates “approximately 10 per cent of undergraduate students (excluding those studying at the federated universities) will be affected in some way by these program adjustments,” according to the release. “We further anticipate that 44 graduate students will be impacted by program closures.” The university said most students, particularly if they are close to completing their programs, will still be able to obtain a degree by “making use of all or parts of the modules in terminated programs, either through course substitutions at Laurentian or through letters of permission.” No new students, however, will be admitted to the programs identified for termination. “For a small number of students, Laurentian will assist them in transitioning to a related program or another institution,” the university said. Applicants in affected programs are encouraged to reach out to Liaison Services to plan their next steps, by emailing email@example.com. “Options exist for all of Laurentian students, and support is available to assist students navigate those academic options,” the university said. Students in affected programs are also encouraged to reach out to their deans and other leaders to discuss the next steps in their academic path. For all the the latest information about the CCAA proceedings, visit www.laurentianu.info. firstname.lastname@example.org