Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Today – Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness late this afternoon. High minus 5. UV index 3 or moderate.

Tonight – Mainly cloudy. Clearing after midnight. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h overnight. Low minus 6.

211 Helpline: Navigation experts for Ontario’s community, social and health services

Ontario 211, the province’s helpline to connect to health, community and social services, has released its 2017 statistics.

The numbers show that more than 290,582 calls for non-emergency help were answered by 211 across the province last year and its website received 298,436 visits.

“We raise awareness about 211 on February 11th to help people find the support they need, and to reduce inappropriate calls to other channels, such as the 911 phone number,” stated Karen Milligan, Executive Director, Ontario 211 Services.

“Government and community services change frequently – and new programs are created to meet emerging needs. 211 maintains a comprehensive and up-to date inventory of the full range of government supports, new mental health services and other community programs, and provides a starting point when people don’t know where to turn.”

Residents should always call 9-1-1 for a life-threatening emergency, when a property is in danger or a crime is in progress that requires the police, fire or paramedic services.

The top reasons for calls to 211 last year included people searching for help with Housing, Utility Assistance, Home Support, Government Benefits, Legal Assistance, and Mental Health supports.

88% of their callers surveyed reported following up on the referrals provided to 211, and accessing the help they need.

Calling 2-1-1 is the easy way to access information about financial, emotional, social and basic needs support in Ontario communities at any time. Internet phone users can call 1-877- 330-3213, and TTY users can call 1- 888-340- 1001.

211 is a three-digit number that helps Ontarians navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 150 languages.

Ontario 211 Services is a non-profit agency, established to develop and govern the 211 system in Ontario. 211 is supported by the Province of Ontario and is a proud partner of United Ways across the province. Through its partnership with 211 and investment in hundreds of community programs, United Way works to improve lives locally.

Chatham-Kent Library introduces ‘Binge Boxes’

Love musicals? Can’t get enough 80’s movies? Want to cozy up with some classic comedies?

There’s a Binge Box for that!

Chatham-Kent Public Library is pleased to announce the launch of the new Binge Box collection.

Borrow a Binge Box for movie nights, sleepovers, long weekends or a cozy night at home.

All you need is some popcorn!

Each Binge Box contains 3 to 5 movies based on a theme. Binge Boxes can be borrowed for one week.

There are many different themes to choose from including:

– Tearjerkers

– Classics

– 80’s Action

– 90’s Nostalgia

– Sci-Fi

And many more!

Ask about Binge Boxes at any CKPL branch or place a hold by searching “Binge Box” at search.ckpl.ca.

For more information on library programs or services, please visit www.ckpl.ca or call 519.354.2940.

Ontario helping colleges and universities fight climate change

Ontario is reducing greenhouse gas pollution and supporting student achievement by investing in energy improvements at college and university campuses across the province.

This investment is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province’s cap on pollution and carbon market.

Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, was joined by Chris Ballard, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto this week to announce funding for publicly-assisted colleges and universities to improve the energy efficiency of their campuses, including funding for:

– Installing energy-efficient windows and high-efficiency boiler replacements

– Larger retrofits, upgrades and new construction for projects that achieve significant emissions reductions and/or demonstrate innovative approaches to increase campus sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas pollution

– Projects that reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs through interest-free loans

“Ontario’s colleges and universities are some of the best places in the world to study,” Hunter said in a press release.

“By investing in repairs and retrofits on campuses across the province that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency, we can extend the life of valuable infrastructure and provide students with the best possible learning environment to pursue their goals and achieve their potential.”

Ontario’s carbon market proceeds are required by law to be invested in programs that help households, businesses and public institutions reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

“This investment is another example of how our Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market work together to help cut our greenhouse gas pollution while making life better for Ontario residents,” stated Ballard.

“This program gives our colleges and universities an opportunity to modernize their campuses, increase the comfort of their students and inspire future generations to help build our low-carbon economy.”

In 2017-18, Ontario is investing over $214 million in grants and making available up to $300 million in interest-free loans to retrofit college and university facilities through the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofit Program.

In November 2017, Ontario issued a call for proposals from publicly-assisted colleges and universities for innovative approaches to increase campus sustainability.

The Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market form the backbone of Ontario’s strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 80 per cent by 2050, while investing in programs that help Ontario families and businesses save money and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Statement on International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today issued the following statement:

“The recruitment of children, and sexual violence against boys and girls, are among the most heinous acts in war and conflict. Forced to become fighters, messengers, porters and spies, child soldiers are exposed to the dangers and horrors of war that scar them for life. It is tragic, criminal and constitutes a gross and unconscionable violation of human rights.

“Up to forty percent of child soldiers are girls. We must do everything we can to prevent the recruitment and use of both boys and girls in hostilities and to respect their human rights, particularly the 245 million living in countries and territories affected by armed conflict. This includes assisting in the release of children from armed groups and helping them successfully transition to a normal life.

“Today, Canada is providing $3.1 million to Dalhousie University and the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan. Since 2013, 19,000 children have been recruited as part of the ongoing conflict there. The project will provide training to at least 700 troops and 80 trainers and develop child protection measures that address the distinct needs of girl and boy soldiers and the prevention of gender-based violence.

“Last November, Canada launched the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, which has since been endorsed by 59 countries.

“As Lieutenant-General (Retired) Dallaire said when the Vancouver Principles were launched, we must ‘make the use of children as weapons of war unthinkable.’ Failure to do so leaves all children in conflict vulnerable to being robbed of a core part of their humanity and saddled with a terrible burden that can take a lifetime to repair, if at all.’’

World news

If you have a suggestion, story idea, column idea, or if you want to say hello… drop me an e-mail at aaron@sydenhamcurrent.ca.

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