Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Monday, February 12, 2018

Today – Sunny. High minus 5. UV index 3 or moderate.

Tonight – A few clouds. Low minus 16.

Coldest Night of the Year

(Submitted photo)

Municipal staff and community organizers joined Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope in raising awareness for the Coldest Night of the Year event, being held Friday Feb. 24.

On that day, Canadians in more than 100 communities will participate in a walk to raise funds and awareness about the plight of homelessness.

The local walk, sponsored by NeighbourLink, will begin and end at The Hub, the former Pines Chapel, at 64 Ursuline Ave. Registration begins at 4 p.m. with opening ceremonies being held at 5 p.m. and the walk beginning at 5:15 p.m.

Participants have a choice of two, five or 10 kilometer walks.

A light, warm meal will be served to all walkers and volunteers between 6-8 p.m.

Last year, 17 teams participated and raised $24,595. This year’s goal is $30,000. Funds are used to operate NeighbourLink Chatham-Kent programs which include visiting shut-ins and providing transportation to those less fortunate in the community.

NeighbourLink Network Coordinator Alan Baker said his group “equips churches to work together to respond to needs in our community. We strive to ensure that our services meet needs not currently met by other groups.”

Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope said NeighbourLink is one of scores of groups dedicated to caring for the community. “It’s part of our nature in Chatham-Kent to take care of each other,” he said.

More details for the local event are online at

Ontario enhancing research opportunities for college students

Ontario is supporting projects across the province that will connect college students with businesses to tackle R&D challenges and launch innovative new products and services.

Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science was at Sheridan College in Oakville to announce the 61 projects across 22 colleges receiving funding through the Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF).

“Our province needs talent to continue to sustain its growing innovation eco-system,” stated Moridi.

“Investing in applied research and development is a step towards a brighter and more prosperous future for our province. By bringing together colleges and the R&D sector, we’re creating opportunities for our students and ensuring they are ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Helping students succeed in the innovation economy is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change.

The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

“Ontario’s college students are bright, ambitious and ready to take on real world challenges,” stated Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

“When students have the opportunity to apply their education in practical ways, they’re even better equipped to participate in the skills-based economy we’re building in the province. These projects will encourage students to explore their full potential, immerse themselves in industries and help us keep Ontario’s R&D sector competitive.”

More than $13 million has been provided to 22 colleges across Ontario for applied R&D funding through CARDF.

CARDF was announced in January 2017 — an investment of $20 million over three years administered by the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

About 10,000 students each year work with more than 750 companies on research and development activities across Ontario.

This program is part of Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative, a five-year commitment of more than $650 million to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses.

Ontario’s colleges and universities offer more than 200 co-operative education programs in the information communications and technology fields.

Ontario boosting opportunities for students to stay active

Ontario is investing in programs that keep children and youth physically active, to ensure that young people can reach their full potential and thrive inside and outside the classroom.

Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of Education was joined by more than 35 students, teachers and families at St. Cecilia Catholic School in Toronto to participate in a walking school bus — a walk-to-school initiative to get students moving ahead of Winter Walk Day.

Provincial officials say research shows that physical activity is key to the healthy growth and development of children and youth. It has a positive impact on their physical and mental health, and helps lay the foundation for healthy, productive lives.

“This is a great way to ensure our children and students are on a strong path to success,” stated Naidoo-Harris.

“Research shows that they are better able to learn and reach their full potential when they are physically active. I’m pleased that we are working with our partners to help our students be physically active every day.”

Ontario is providing children and youth with more opportunities to be physically active each day, including:

– Renewing grants to secondary schools to encourage more physical activity for students in Grades 9-12 during non-instructional time.

– Investing in active transportation initiatives, such as walking school buses, which encourage walking, cycling or other forms of active travel to and from school.

These programs are part of Ontario’s commitment to providing access to 60 minutes of physical activity, connected to the school day, for all children and youth.

In Ontario, only 1 in 5 students (Gr. 7-12) report meeting the 60-minute daily activity recommendation.

Ontario is providing $3.5 million over three years to Green Communities Canada for the Ontario Active School Travel project.

Government of Canada launches interactive campaign to build network of mentors for young women in science

A 13-year-old girl asks for a telescope for her birthday. A teenager beams with pride from winning her provincial algebra competition. A young woman is excited to choose biology as her major as she heads off to university.

The Canadian government says young women and girls like these need to be inspired in order for the country to benefit from greater diversity and creativity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

To help build a network of role models and mentors for young women in science, Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary for Science and Member of Parliament for London West, on behalf of Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, launched the next phase of the Government of Canada’s “Choose Science” campaign. This edition of the online campaign encourages women in science to share their stories so that new generations of young women can learn from their experiences and aspire to a future in research.

“I am proud of all the women and girls who want to make a difference in the world through science,” Duncan stated.

“It is our job to celebrate their accomplishments, nurture their desire to discover, and share their stories so that other young women and girls know a bright future in the sciences is within their reach. On this International Day for Women and Girls in Science, I wish them all the very best.”

The campaign was launched on the International Day for Women and Girls in Science during a panel discussion hosted at Facebook Canada and in partnership with Actua, a national charity that promotes science engagement to youth.

The discussion featured leading Canadian women in science and technology, including Joelle Pineau, Director of the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab at McGill University; Amber Mac, a Toronto-based multimedia host and tech entrepreneur; and Jennifer Flanagan, President & CEO of Actua.

By celebrating the day, sharing their stories and expressing their passion for science, these women, along with the young students they addressed, not only established a network of new friends but also began to create a network that will inspire future female STEM leaders.

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