Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Monday, May 14, 2018

Today – Increasing cloudiness. Showers beginning this morning and ending this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm. Fog patches dissipating early this morning. Local amount 15 to 25 mm. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High 22. Humidex 30. UV index 3 or moderate.

Tonight – Cloudy. Showers beginning late this evening. Risk of a thunderstorm late this evening and overnight. Fog patches developing this evening and dissipating overnight. Amount 10 to 20 mm. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 15.

Spring is Here: Plant your garden with seeds from CKPL

Chatham-Kent Public Library launched CKPL Grows Seed Libraries at the Chatham, Blenheim, Merlin, Ridgetown, Thamesville, Tilbury and Wallaceburg locations on March 20, offering a variety of vegetable, herb, fruit and flower seeds at each location.

Since then, hundreds of seed packages have been checked out by local residents.

Now that growing season is here, don’t miss out.

Visit one of these seven locations to get seeds for your garden

What is CKPL Grows Seed Library?

CKPL’s Seed Libraries provide free seeds for residents to borrow so they can grow healthy gardens, have access to affordable food, and create beautiful spaces in their own backyards and local communities.

What do you need to check out seeds from CKPL Grows Seed Libraries?

All you need is a valid CKPL library card!

Chatham-Kent Public Library is also looking for donations of any variety for the Seed Libraries.

Residents are also encouraged to save seeds from their gardens this year and donate them to CKPL Grows Seed Libraries to be used again next season.

To find out more about programs and events at Chatham-Kent Public Library, visit www.ckpl.ca.

Expanding autism services for Ontario kids

(@Yvan_Baker, Twitter)

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced recently that the provincial government is taking action to expand autism services for children and youth across Ontario.

Premier Wynne was joined by Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services, at Etobicoke Children’s Centre to highlight the province’s 2018 Budget commitment to invest $62 million in new funding for the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) over the next year. This increase will expand the current system so more children and youth can access behavioural services, family supports and training.

“Families with children and youth with autism face unique challenges, and we understand that waitlists are frustrating and that we need to do more to address them,” Wynne said in a press release.

“As a government, it is our duty to ensure all children are getting the services they need in a timely manner. And every child, no matter where they live in Ontario, should have the opportunity to learn and grow, and to lead a happy and healthy life. That’s why we’re building on our work through the Ontario Autism Program — to ensure that families, caregivers and children all across our province can access the individualized care and high-quality services that respond to their needs.”

The new funding builds on the government’s previous and unprecedented commitment of more than $500 million over five years to create the Ontario Autism Program and expand autism services. The announcement will further expand that program, which seeks to meet a child’s specific needs at any age. This funding will offer families across the province more access to flexible, individualized services that are based on the needs and strengths of their children.

“The Ontario Autism Program sets Ontario apart as a leader in this country, and around the world, for autism services and supports,” Coteau said in a media release.

“I am committed to all children, regardless of age and where they are on the autism spectrum, receiving the services they need, when they need them, and as close to home as possible. This strong, comprehensive and flexible program gives families choice, consistency and confidence in the behavioural services that they receive.”

Provincial officials say the commitment Premier Wynne highlighted is also about continuing to increase choice for families of children and youth with autism, while also recognizing the need to address wait times. The government introduced a direct funding option for behavioural services on January 15.

Families can now choose either to receive direct funding to pay for evidence-based behavioural services for their child, or service through one of Ontario’s regional service providers.

More details:

– One in 66 children and youth is identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

– The Ontario Autism Program was shaped by the collective voices of parents, caregivers and other experts and advocates. Services are flexible, individualized and based on the needs, strengths and goals of each child and youth with autism and their family.

– Ontario has increased the maximum hourly rate for evidence-based behavioural services purchased through the OAP from $39 per hour to a maximum of $55 per hour, for families who choose the direct funding option.

– Over 5,000 children and youth are currently accessing behavioural services through the direct funding or direct service options.

– Since January 2017, five new diagnostic hubs have been improving the availability of ASD diagnoses so that children and youth can start accessing the supports they need as quickly as possible. These hubs have conducted more than 2,000 assessments across the province.

– Since 2004, the government has invested more than $20 million to support more than 20 autism research initiatives.

– Ontario is also investing $1.8 billion over three years to improve services for adults living with developmental disabilities. This investment will give families more choice and flexibility when it comes to care, increase access to safe and secure housing, and enhance supports for caregivers. It will also help ease the transition between the children and youth system and the adult system.

Prime Minister & Defence Minister celebrate NORAD milestone

(@CanadaFP, Twitter)

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on the 60th anniversary of NORAD:

“Today, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

“This unique bi-national military command is an enduring symbol of the important partnership between Canada and the United States – one that is essential to us both.

“On May 12th, 1958, Canada and the United States formally agreed to do together what no other two countries had done before – or since – to place the defence and security of their countries and citizens into each other’s care.

“Since then, NORAD has watched over North America’s skies to defend and protect our people.

“The key to NORAD’s success has been its ability to evolve and meet new challenges, and to take advantage of new opportunities. We can trust in its ability to continue to adapt as needed to meet the needs of the future.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I thank the members of the Canadian and United States Armed Forces working side-by-side in NORAD for their service over the past 60 years. Canada’s commitment to NORAD is unwavering, and we will continue to work together to protect the safety and security of our countries.”

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan released the following statement:

“(May 12) marks the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), officially created to put into place the conditions for the defence and security of Canada and the United States. This milestone serves as a reminder of the unique and lasting defence relationship of our nations. It is not only a testament to our longstanding and shared commitment to the safety and security of our citizens, but also the unbreakable bond between allies. Put simply, NORAD demonstrates we are stronger when we work together. ‎

“Since its inception in 1958, NORAD has been unwavering in its vigilance, closely monitoring North American aerospace for potential danger. In 2006, NORAD expanded its mission to include maritime warning to help increase the security of waterways and ports in Canada and the United States. NORAD continues to adapt to changing landscapes and evolving threats as our two nations continue to collaborate on innovative ways to keep ‎North Americans safe for decades to come.

“As part of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, we are committed to continuing to work in partnership with the United States on the security of our shared continent.‎ I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the brave women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who have proudly and tirelessly helped keep us Strong at home and Secure in North America.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I recognize the 60th anniversary of NORAD as we honour our past, guard the present and protect the future.”

National news

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.