Coronavirus leaves bitter taste for Canada maple sugar shacks

first_imgUnder a dazzling sky, with spring in the air, syrup is flowing in a maple grove near the village of Saint-Alexis.With a mallet in hand, feet braced in deep snow, Simon Lanoue pounds plastic tubing into one tree after another to drain their sap, weaving a vast spider web in the forest.As the sweet liquid drips slowly from the trees, Lanoue laments his losses due to Quebec province’s measures to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Lanoue had to close his dining room in mid-March, barely two weeks after the start of “maple sugar time.”An annual tradition that runs until the end of April, Quebecers and visitors flock to rustic sugar shacks to feast on spiced sausages, sticky baked beans, fluffy omelets and Christ’s ears (deep-fried pork fat) — all layered with golden maple syrup.It’s topped off with a dessert of maple “taffy,” made of thick hot syrup spread over snow and rolled around a popsicle stick.Usually, “catering represents from 75 to 80 percent” of revenues, but this year Lanoue will have to be content with the sale of his syrup, “which does not represent much.””But there are cabins in worse shape than mine,” he points out.A similar scenario is playing out in the neighboring village of Saint-Esprit, at the Constantin Gregoire sugar shack. “It is generally full everywhere,” owner Denise Gregoire says in one of the three grand dining rooms, where moose antlers hang over a large fireplace.”On March 15, we closed our doors, and we will not be able to reopen this year, it will go to next year,” says Gregoire, who had to lay off about 20 employees.Nevertheless, Jacqueline, a client, wants to come “buy maple syrup, like every year. Usually we come to eat at the cabin. But this year, because of the virus, it’s not possible.”There are more than 200 of these so-called “commercial” cabins in the province of Quebec, explains Helene Normandin, spokeswoman for the federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.”It’s a catastrophic situation,” she says. “This year 2020 is completely lost for [owners].” But COVID-19 or not, the production of syrup continues, the industry having been designated “essential” by the provincial government.Canada produces 92 percent of the world’s maple syrup, largely thanks to Quebec (72 percent), with the rest coming from American border states.Quebec has more than 11,000 producers grouped into 7,400 companies, most of them artisanal, which contribute annually up to Can$600 million (US$422 million) to the local economy, supporting the equivalent of 10,500 full-time jobs.Quebec had a record season last year, harvesting more than 72,000 tonnes of syrup, with 80 percent of it exported to 60 countries. The United States, Germany and Britain are the largest foreign buyers.The current season promises to be “normal,” according to Normandin, projecting a slightly more modest harvest.”I think we are going to have a good year, and the syrup again is excellent,” Lanoue says.And no shortage is anticipated, as the federation maintains a strategic reserve of “blond gold” to ensure price stability: more than 45,000 tonnes of syrup stored in barrels in a padlocked warehouse as large as five football fields. Topics :center_img “For me, this represents a shortfall of between $80,000 and $100,000,” he said.Quebec has ordered all residents to stay home except for essential tasks, closed eat-in restaurants and even limited travel in the province.The 140-seat dining hall in Lanoue’s Osias sugar shack, located in an old barn about 60 kilometers north of Montreal, is deserted.On weekends around this time of year, diners normally rotate in and out every two hours.last_img read more

WPB Fire Chief talks about the Coronavirus and Opioid crises in Palm Beach County

first_imgWest Palm Beach Fire Chief Diana Matty recently told 850WFTL about the COVID-19 crisis and how her paramedics are handling it. The health department is reporting Palm Beach County has climbed past 9,000 coronavirus cases with the second highest death toll in the state at 71 behind Miami-Dade. The statewide total stands at nearly three thousand deaths from COVID-19.In March, Chief Matty was concerned about a shortage of PPE’s but now her department has plenty of masks. In fact, she says none of her paramedics or fire fighters have contracted or tested positive for COVID-19 despite responding to numerous calls. Chief Matty says everyone wears a mask even when responding to a traffic accident and adheres to proper protocol.In addition to talking about whether anyone in her department has gotten sick and if they have enough PPE’s, she says there has been an increase in 911 calls asking for transport due to complications from the illness. She says people with comorbidities go downhill fast and need help quickly adding that in addition to calling an ambulance, you can present to the nearest emergency room if you are having breathing problems.Chief Matty also addressed another local health risk, the opioid crisis in Palm Beach County. She says the numbers of overdoses and halfway houses are intertwined in Palm Beach County and both have greatly diminished since 2017. She covered everything from “available resources,” “excited delirium” in reference to the George Floyd case, and how to prevent “children” from overdosing on grandma’s cancer pain medications in the home.Chief Matty explains in the case of excited delirium, some people high on cocaine, heroine or meth can get into a frenzy, jump on cars, and even climb trees. She says it takes several people to subdue them and eventually tranquilize them in order to transport them safely to the hospital. In many cases Chief Matty describes people taking a cocktail of street drugs which lead to out-of-control bizarre behavior.Listen to the full interview with West Palm Beach Fire Chief Diana Matty’s full interview here.SFS Chief Matty Opioid Covid Kidslast_img read more

Westport Winery’s Jetty Cat Earns Best of Class at Savor NW

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Westport WineryA popular wine, Jetty Cat Red, is one of 36 varietals made by Westport Winery.Westport Winery’s most popular red blend, Jetty Cat, earned a double gold medal and Best of Class at the Savor Northwest Wine Competition this week in Canon Beach, Oregon. Jetty Cat is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Discovery Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, Sangiovese from Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima AVA, Petite Sirah from Jones Vineyard in the Wahluke AVA, and Tempranillo from Airfield Estates in the Yakima AVA. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this wine benefits the Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA). The label on this wine was painted by Aberdeen, Washington, artist, Dr. Brian McGregor.The winery earned silver medals on Swimmer’s Petite Sirah from Jones Vineyard, Elk River Riesling from Red Willow Vineyard, and Surfer’s Syrah from Discovery Vineyard. These wines respectively benefit Grays Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center, the Grays Harbor Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the South Beach EMS in Westport. The partnerships and collaborative relationships Westport Winery has built with their grape growers and local charities are integral to their remarkable growth and success in their six year history. Westport Winery was the first winery on the Washington Coast and remains the westernmost vineyard in the state.Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea with its unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Their award-winning wines are exclusively available at this location. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market and bakery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery at 360-648-2224 or visit the website at www.westportwinery.com.last_img read more

2016 Emperor’s Challenge to be featured in international sports tourism study

first_imgTUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – The 18th Annual Emperor’s Challenge will be taking place once again this weekend in Tumbler Ridge, and will be featured as part of an international sports tourism study.Tor-Arne Gjertsen is a Norwegian research scientist who will not only be competing in this year’s half-marathon south of Tumbler Ridge, but will also be gathering data on the race and its effect on the local economy. The data will be used in a survey being conducted by Dr. Claude Sobry at Lille University in France. Race organiser Jerrilyn Schembri explained that the survey is being undertaken to study the socio-economic impact of sporting events on small communities worldwide, particularly those which have seen a downturn in their local economies. According to Schembri, Gjertsen recently returned from a trip to gather similar data in the southern Siberian town of Khatystyr, Yakutia, which hosts an annual Iditarod-style reindeer race and is known for its reindeer herding. Gjertsen and Sobry’s research will be presented to the Sports Tourism Conference in Grenoble, France in January of 2017.The 20-kilometre footrace will see over 1,000 participants running and hiking along the scenic route that traverses two mountains south of Tumbler Ridge near the idled Peace River Coal mine. Schembri says that roughly 35 percent of racers in this year’s Challenge are from the Fort St. John area, close to the 38 percent from last year. Kris Swanson, who won last year’s race by nearly three minutes ahead of the next place contestant despite racing with a broken collarbone and severe road rash is set to compete once again this year, despite suffering a broken foot earlier this year. The race begins at the Core Lodge, approximately 35 kilometres south of Tumbler Ridge on Saturday at 9:00 a.m.- Advertisement –last_img read more

WORLD’S TOP SURFER THANKS HIS DONEGAL ROOTS FOR HIS TALENT

first_imgMick Fanning in actionOne of the world’s best surfers has credited his Donegal roots for helping to be a champion.Mick Fanning has just scooped his third world title in Australia. And the 32 year old, whose father John is from Malin Head, says it is his Irish roots which have made him a champ.He was named world’s best surfer in 2008 and could be on the way to regaining the crown.Mick said “My parents being Irish, were very loyal people, very honest.“That’s one thing I try to be. That’s the way you have to be.”  WORLD’S TOP SURFER THANKS HIS DONEGAL ROOTS FOR HIS TALENT was last modified: December 22nd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Malin HeadMick Fanningsurferlast_img read more

COUNTDOWN TO CROKER – ‘CHEAPEST’ ALL IRELAND FINAL TICKET NOW FETCHING €300

first_imgTickets for the All-Ireland Football Final between Donegal and Mayo are already fetching more than SIX times their face value.As fans begin the hunt for the golden passes, it has already become clear that many may have to pay well above the odds to see their heroes at Croker Park.A number of on-line agencies are demanding hugely inflated prices for the game. One online ticket agency www.needaticket.ie is offering the cheapest tickets in the Upper Davin Stand for a wallet-thumping €300 while seats in the Hogan or Cusack Lower Tiers are being advertised for €500 each.It is estimated that Donegal clubs will get a total of up to 14,000 tickets despite the fact that more than 35,000 Donegal fans attended the semi-final against Cork.Fans are being advised to try all possible avenues and contacts to get their hands on tickets.Fans are also testing the water in a bid to get their hands on tickets. One fan, Lisa Boyle, has put an advert on the DoneDeal website offering €150 per ticket and is looking for up to 8 tickets.She also said she is willing to pay more cash for better seats and will take pairs of seats.County Secretary Hugh Martin Ferry has told fans to try all in their powers to get a ticket warning that many clubs will simply not have enough to meet demand.Most clubs are offering adult members tickets first and then trying to accommodate the juvenile members. COUNTDOWN TO CROKER – ‘CHEAPEST’ ALL IRELAND FINAL TICKET NOW FETCHING €300 was last modified: September 6th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:All Ireland ticketsdemanddonegalMayolast_img read more

2 days agoReal Madrid coach Zidane praises Rodrygo, Valverde for Galatasaray win

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid coach Zidane praises Rodrygo, Valverde for Galatasaray winby Carlos Volcano2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was delighted with his young players for their Champions League defeat of Galatasaray.Real won 1-0 thanks to Toni Kroos’ goal.On Rodrygo and Fede Valverde, Zidane said: “They’re part of the squad and I made the decision that Rodrygo would play. “He’s performing and training well. In a 4-3-3 formation his natural position is as a right winger and we’re happy with his performance. Nothing changes with regards to him. Today we’ve just got to focus on this game. “He’s a member of the first-team squad and he can play for Castilla also. He did well tonight and I’m pleased with his performance. We’ll have to see what happens in the next game.” last_img read more

White House welcomes Senate vote killing consumer rule

first_imgWASHINGTON – The White House is welcoming a congressional measure killing the ability of millions of Americans to band together to sue bank or credit card companies to resolve financial disputes in a major win for Wall Street.The Senate narrowly voted late Tuesday night to nullify the rule, with Vice-President Mike Pence casting the final vote to break a 50-50 tie. The measure now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.“President Donald J. Trump applauds the Congress for passing,” the resolution, the White House said in a statement shortly after the vote that highlighted its own Treasury Department report criticizing the rule. “The rule would harm our community banks and credit unions by opening the door to frivolous lawsuits by special interest trial lawyers.”The banking industry had been lobbying hard to roll back the regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau had moved to ban most types of mandatory arbitration clauses found in the fine print of agreements consumers often enter into when opening a checking account or getting a credit card.The vote reflects the effort of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to undo regulations that the GOP argues harm the free market.Democratic lawmakers said the CFPB’s rule would have given consumers more leverage to stop companies from financial wrongdoing. They cited the sales practices at Wells Fargo and the security breach at credit company Equifax as examples of misdeeds protected through forced arbitration.“So who does forced arbitration help? Wall Street banks and other huge corporations that never pay the price for cheating working people,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.Richard Cordray, director of the consumer bureau, said: “Tonight’s vote is a giant setback for every consumer in this country. Wall Street won and ordinary people lost. This vote means the courtroom doors will remain closed for groups of people seeking justice and relief when they are wronged by a company.”Republicans said the arbitration system has worked wonderfully for consumers. They said the payouts for the average consumer in arbitration cases are generally much larger and come more quickly than when compared to the relief gained through class-action lawsuits.“The effort to try to characterize this as some devious system that has been created to try to stop consumers from having access to fairness is simply false,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, the Republican chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “We have a very fair system that has been working for over 100 years in this country.”Crapo said the average pay-out for consumers in class-action lawsuits against financial companies was just $32, but lawyers stood to make millions.Democrats argued that consumers generally don’t have the time and means to pursue claims in arbitration, and since most disputes revolve around small amounts, they typically just give up. They said banks and other financial firms know that in the end they won’t have pay a real price for taking advantage of a consumer.But class-actions would serve as a powerful tool for consumers, they said.“Once again, we’re helping the powerful against the powerless,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as the Senate neared the vote, sensing the Democrats would lose.Two Republicans sided with Democratic lawmakers to keep the rule — Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana.The advocacy group Consumers Union and several veterans groups, including the American Legion, lobbied to keep the rule. They said consumers would still have the option to use arbitration to resolve a dispute, if both parties want to go that route.“Without the CFPB rule, consumers can be forced into a rigged system where they have no recourse. It’s a disgrace,” said Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, an advocacy group that works to improve the legal system.The American Bankers Association cheered the Senate vote. “Today’s vote puts consumers first rather than class-action lawyers,” said Rob Nichols, the group’s president and chief executive officer.last_img read more

Retailer MEC to stop ordering from Vista Outdoor in response to Florida

first_imgVANCOUVER – Mountain Equipment Co-op has decided to stop selling several outdoor equipment brands owned by Vista Outdoor Inc., which is also a gun manufacturer.MEC doesn’t sell guns, but had faced a petition calling on it to stop selling brands owned by Vista Outdoor because the U.S. company also develops and manufactures firearms similar to the type of rifle used in a recent Florida mass shooting.The retailer said Thursday its existing inventory of Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, Jimmy Styks and Bolle gear will remain on its shelves until it is sold, but it has suspended further orders of the brands owned by Visa Outdoor.MEC chief executive David Labistour issued a statement saying he has heard the calls to boycott the brands, but also from members who believe that decision should be left to individual consumers.“I hope that you will see that the decision we made today is balanced and considered and positions us to inspire a wider discussion throughout our industry and North America,” Labistour said.He added he believes a member-owned organization like MEC needs to engage in the “complex and highly charged debate” surrounding the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., that resulted in 17 deaths.The retailer will also “continue to engage with these brands as well our peers in the outdoor industry in North America in ways that are consistent with our mission and values,” he said.On Wednesday, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods took steps to restrict gun sales.Dick’s said it will stop selling assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.Walmart said it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21.A 19-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has been accused of using an AR-15 rifle, that he purchased legally, for the attack.last_img read more

PGE bankruptcy could mean price hikes unpaid fire lawsuits

first_imgSACRAMENTO, Calif. — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said this week it will file for bankruptcy, raising concern that rates for electricity and gas will rise and victims of California wildfires who are suing the nation’s largest utility won’t get all the money they may be owed.Here are some key things to know about the impact of the company’s financial situation:WHAT DOES BANKRUPTCY MEAN?PG&E says it can’t afford at least $30 billion in expected costs related to California’s deadly 2017 and 2018 wildfires. Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy will allow the company to hold off creditors and keep providing electricity and natural gas service while it gets its finances in order.Richard Kelly, chairman of PG&E’s board of directors, said the reorganization allowed under Chapter 11 is “the only viable option to address the company’s responsibilities to its stakeholders.”While the filing wouldn’t make the lawsuits against PG&E disappear, it would consolidate them into a single proceeding before a bankruptcy judge, not a jury. That could buy the company time and prevent excessive jury verdicts.Bankruptcy also makes it easier for a company to take out new loans and sell off assets. PG&E, which also went through bankruptcy early 20 years ago, has been considering splitting off its gas division.WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?The utility’s Monday announcement kicks off a 15-day period before the official filing, which is expected on or before Jan. 29.California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wants to keep the bankruptcy from going through, but that it might not be possible. He’s put his chief of staff in charge of looking for solutions, with help from financial and bankruptcy experts.Lawmakers may not be so eager to prevent the bankruptcy, but they have other questions to answer, such as how to keep electricity rates from rising or ensure wildfire victims who win lawsuits against PG&E get paid.WHO ARE PG&E’S CUSTOMERS?San Francisco-based PG&E is the nation’s largest utility based on customers and revenue. It serves more than 16 million people with electric or gas service.It also serves an area with roughly three-quarters of the California land most vulnerable to wildfire, Newsom said, putting the utility in a unique position compared with Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric, two of California’s other largest utilities.PG&E customers could bear some of the cost from the bankruptcy as a charge on their power bills. PG&E customers still have a charge on their monthly bills from the utility’s 2001 bankruptcy.The bankruptcy judge will determine what happens to parties owed money by PG&E, but state regulators will still decide what rates customers are charged.WILL THE POWER GO OUT?Newsom stressed Monday that the situation is not the same as PG&E’s bankruptcy in 2001, when the state faced an energy crisis that led to rolling blackouts.“We are not in a position where we’re worried about the lights turning out,” he said.The earlier bankruptcy stemmed from rising electricity costs during a shortage caused by the state’s attempts at deregulating the power industry.Now, the company is filing for bankruptcy because of crushing wildfire liability costs. California officials have determined PG&E’s equipment caused multiple 2017 fires.State investigators have not yet determined what caused a blaze that swept through Santa Rosa in 2017 or the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed more than 40 people last November. But PG&E already faces lawsuits because it reported equipment issues around the time and place where last year’s fire sparked.PG&E is on the hook for major wildfire costs because California law makes utilities entirely liable for fires sparked by their equipment, even if the company didn’t act negligently.WHAT CAN LAWMAKERS DO?They tried to prevent a PG&E bankruptcy last year by approving a law allowing the utility to pass on some costs of the 2017 wildfires to ratepayers. It didn’t include a similar provision for 2018, which was a deadlier and more destructive wildfire season.State Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat who wrote the law, said lawmakers didn’t want to give PG&E incentives to stop focusing on safety.But now lawmakers are forced to confront a bankruptcy. State Sen. Jerry Hill, a PG&E critic, said it might be a good thing because PG&E as it exists does not have a record of safety.Kathleen Ronayne, The Associated Presslast_img read more