How to Make Money On Gambling: No Deposit Bonuses

News 100 blueBy George Wolfson

September 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games. However, the winnings can be obtained only when playing for real money (with the possibility of their further withdrawal to a card or online wallet).

dice 2

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games.

To increase your chances of receiving such a prize, it is worth listening to helpful advice from experienced professionals. If you are just starting your way in gambling, then you should pay attention to the no deposit bonus and the conditions to win without investing your money.

What Is No Deposit Bonus?
This reward is one of the casino promos that provides players with cash when they open an account or try a new game without replenishing it. In fact, there are not too many places where you can get real money with no deposit   So, these bonuses offer a great opportunity to try a new casino or new game with minimal risk.

Gambling platforms may offer two types of such rewards:

1. Cashable: they allow the player to withdraw both the bonus money provided and the winnings;

2. Non-cashable: they cannot be withdrawn, because the casino deducts it from the total winnings.

The main purpose of such gifts is to advertise the brand, as well as quickly increase a client base. Usually, gambling platforms use no deposit bonuses in order to attract new customers or reward regular players.

Dice 1

Understand the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus gambling – then have fun.

Thanks to this offer, players can try something new without risking their own money. Online casinos can also provide free rewards on any new game so that visitors can play it and only then replenish the account.

Pros and Cons of Using No Deposit Bonuses
It should be noted that everything has its positive and negative sides, and all types of free rewards as well. So let’s pay attention to the pros and cons of using no deposit bonuses:
Advantages:

1. Having used these rewards, you will be able to study the whole functionality of the site and make sure that it is worth your trust;

2. You will be able to test the game in the real money mode and understand the principle of its work;

3. The player does not spend his own money and, as a result, he does not have to invest his own funds, if something is wrong with a casino.

Disadvantages:
● Small size. If you think that casinos are giving hundreds of dollars, then you are wrong. Usually, the reward starts from $10-20 free dollars to several dozens of free spins;

● The original bonus will not be allowed to withdraw immediately after the receipt. The withdrawal option appears only after playing a wager;

● These rewards are issued for a small number of games. As a rule, the use of free spins is limited to one or a few video slots.

Having considered the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus, you are ready to start. Good luck!

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Set out as a silent protest about what we are not doing about climate change.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Shoe strike 1a

A silent protest.

There they were.

Set out ever so neatly within Civic Square – more than 230 pairs of shoes.

They were part of a silent protest about what we are not doing about climate change.

It was billed as a climate strike inviting everyone in Burlington to join in demanding that all levels of government act immediately on the urgent climate crisis.

The social distancing rules had to be respected. How do you do that?

The people who organized the event identified two places where the shoes could be dropped off. The Rolling Horse Community Cycle in Aldershot and a private home in Millcroft.

Participants were invited to insert a note inside their shoes to convey their message about why urgent action on climate change is important to them.

This was a silent protest. There were no opportunities for speeches or public announcements or political leader photo ops.

After the silent protest the shoes were collected and returned to hosts or donated to a local charity that will distribute them to those in need.

Shoe striike 1 b

Many of the shoes had notes in them – setting out the wish, hope, aspirations and dreams of those who had walked in those shoes earlier.

Similar Shoe Strikes were to take in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills; those situations didn’t work out very well.

Oakville found that their plans were upset with the COVID-19 rules on how many people could gather in a group.

Milton ran into bureaucratic problems – the need for a permit and the need for insurance.

Fridays for Future will be co-coordinating similar Climate Strikes throughout Canada. Locally, organizers come from a cross-section of groups: Burlington Biodiversity Team, Students for Change Halton, BurlingtonGreen Youth Network, Burlington Citizens Concerned about Climate Change (BC4), and local residents.

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The provincial government is going to have to take very strong measures to lower the rate of new infection. Another lock-down will be very painful

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

‘Did someone at Queen’s Park teach the Premier and his colleagues that song about “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”?

Money is flying out of the government coffers.

A million here; ten million there – yesterday it was $1 billion.

All for good reasons – this time it was to Expand COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing.

That we have to test so much is really the problem. We now know what we have to do to keep COVID-19 under control – create a safe bubble and stay in it.

The Prime Minister put it in language we could all understand. “There will be no Thanksgiving Dinners with extended family – but if we do the right things we have a shot at Christmas”.

No mask 2

A Canadian city with a diverse population.

The Ontario government is building on the largest provincial testing initiative in Canada by providing $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management.

The government is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province’s long-term care homes, retirement homes, and schools. These investments are part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19.

To date, Ontario has maintained adherence to public health measures and established a strong foundation for testing and case and contact management by:

covid virus

Smaller than microscopic – this virus needs you to become its home so that it can replicate itself.

• Establishing a provincial COVID-19 lab network with capacity for more than 40,000 daily tests;
• Establishing over 150 assessment centres;
• Testing long-term care home residents and staff in addition to the ongoing testing of staff and homes in outbreak;
• Providing up to 1,700 more contact tracers to support public health units in contact follow-ups through an agreement with the federal government;
• Launching a new, custom-built case and contact management digital system to improve data quality and timeliness and eliminate the use of the multiple tools being used across the province and the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) for COVID-19;
• Launching COVID Alert, the country’s made-in-Ontario exposure notification app; and
• Launching a robust public awareness campaign to educate the public on how to keep them and their families safe, including targeted campaigns to young Ontarians.

Many people have heard all this before – it is the ones who haven’t heard, or don’t want to hear, that are the problem.

No masks - less than 8 days ago.

Less than 8 days ago in a Canadian city – near a university campus

Massive minimum fines is a start – something to catch their attention.

The rest of us can remind those who choose not to wear masks to start now.

The Regional Police have a program that allows the driver of a car who spots someone driving erratically to dial 911.

Amazing how many of these dangerous drivers get pulled over very quickly and charged with a Highway Traffic Offence.

The Provincial Medical Officer of Health has the power to take action along those lines.

Do it – use the billion dollars to swear in constables with the power to take people into custody if they are not wearing a mask.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Telephone Town Hall on Covid19 issues - panel of experts to take part

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There will be another Telephone Town Hall hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward this evening from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

The Mayor will be joined by a panel of local leaders to help answer residents’ questions.

How to Participate

Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca.

Please note: if you registered for any of the previous town halls (held on March 26, April 14, June 4 or July 16), you are not required to register your phone number again. To remove a name from the call list, email getinvolved@burlington.ca.

Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-779-0904 just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised that more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

Many of the questions not answered during the call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at burlington.ca/townhall, along with an audio file and full transcript of the call after Sept. 23.

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COVID-19 infections have been identified in three Halton elementary schools; nothing in Burlington

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board started their second week of having students in the schools – and no serious COVID-19 infections.

As of this morning there were 4 people in three schools who were sent home due to a suspected infection.

Emily Carr, Sunningdale (2 people) and Maple Grove reported people that were sent home. No detail on whether these were all students or if any teachers were involved.

None of the schools were closed.

Miller July 22

Director of Education, Stuart Miller on a ZOOM cal with the Board of Trustees

Director of Education Stuart Miller reports that the classes being delivered virtually are working their way through the early stages.

“We had some experience with the software last April, May and part of June when all that was available to students was the virtual classroom.

Now something in excess of 20% of the student population opted for a virtual education. Miller said that a bit of a sense of the new normal was beginning to take shape. The students are back in the classroom and learning new rules and procedures they have to follow.
“Perfect, it isn’t”, said Miller – but then there is no such thing as a perfect classroom situation.

Most of the schools are located in Oakville where all the data matrices are high. Miller was not able to say why the Oakville numbers are consistently high other than that perhaps more Oakville people have returned to work and are using some form of public transit.

Everyone from the Board administration, the trustees , parents, and everyone at the Public Health Unit, are watching the daily numbers very closely.

Toronto and Peel are the dangerous hot spots – the Premier talks loudly about putting parts of the province in another lock-down.

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Grandfather wants more invested in the education of his grandchildren

News 100 greenBy Ray Rivers

September 18th, 2020

MOUNTSBERG, ON

 

These are scary times especially if you are grandparents. When it comes to educating our youth, no one should doubt that school boards, teachers and maintenance staff are doing the best they can in the circumstances. But then nobody can say the schools are as safe as they could be – or used to be before the pandemic hit us. The circumstances have changed.

Seven months have passed since the schools were shut down as part of the provincial COVID-19 lock-down. The Premier warned us that this was not going away, that we’d have to change how we do things if we are to avoid getting infected. So what about the children? Aside from some widening of the aisles between students’ desks very little seems to have changed.

Yes, there are the masks and the single cohorts and the managed crowd control, coming and going. But the students, for the most part, are still captive and crowded within their inadequately ventilated classroom environment for most of their day – another petrie dish for the virus and another opportunity for viral transmission.

Leo at desk

Leo taking part in a class exercise

So when my wife and I had heard that school would be returning pretty much business-as-usual, we reached out to the parents of our youngest grandchildren and offered to help with their children’s grade 2 and 4 French immersion schooling. There are in excess of 20,000 children who receive homeschooling every year in Ontario, so we’d be in good company, we thought.

Fortunately the education ministry had announced that parents could opt out of sending their children back to the classroom and engage in their program of online or distance learning instead. Students would pretty much get their regular course load but learn at home rather than trucking off to school. The Halton Board sent out requests to parents asking them to opt for the option of their choice.

Teachers, apparently some also teaching regular classes, would appear online through the application of Google online conferencing tools, mainly Google Meet and Google Classroom. Teachers use various media to assist in their online teaching and students are even invited to submit contributions, such as, photos.

There are three teaching blocks of 100 minutes each covering the 8:45 am to 3:05 pm day, and duplicating the essence of what would be learned in a regular classroom. Students may even be given homework assignments. And the online platform allows students to see their teacher as well a number of fellow students, making the experience feel a little less remote.

When we undertook to invite the children to our house we expected that we would be heavily involved in preparing classes. Both of us do have some pedagogical training. As it turns out our role is little more than supervision and coaching as the teachers do the heavy lifting of bringing the curriculum to life on the small screen.

How is it going? Well there was some minor stumbling at the beginning, something one should expect with the introduction of this new way of conducting regular classroom instruction. But the students appear to be excited about what they are doing. And the teachers, in our experience, have been wonderful, clearly competent, enthusiastic and responsive to the needs of the students and their coaches.

While being able to conduct regular classes online sounds pretty amazing, the truth is the technology is still not as user friendly as it could be. But the biggest problem is the size of the online classes. There are close to thirty students in each of the children’s classes.

Bea at work

Bea doing math.

It is impossible to practically see all of one’s classmates on a computer screen. And so it is a difficult for the teacher to stay on top of what everyone is doing. And that makes it a huge challenge for effective immersion language training, for example.

Going through the roster of students can take an inordinate amount of time and that can be really boring to those waiting their turn. Students can lose interest and drift off, even with the best of teachers. And that is the big fear – that students will lose interest, shut down, and their performance will reflect that failing.

This is the same problem one sees in over overcrowded regular classrooms only magnified by the remote learning complication. The solution is obvious – hire more teachers for distance learning. In a country where the unemployment rate is currently above 10% and governments are spilling money like rain water, you’d think this was more than possible.

Of course teachers need some training and a program to follow but this is not rocket science – unless they actually are teaching rocket science. And of course experience counts. But our children are the future, why wouldn’t we want to invest more in their education?

Distance Learning

Online Learning

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers usually writes about politics and the environment.  His grandchildren are doing elementary school as distant learners.

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Government puts out an interactive self-assessment application - will it make a difference?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The province is doing everything they can to get people to use the preventative measure they know work to slow down the spread of the Covid19.

Doug Ford MAr 17

Premier does a media event almost daily – begging – beseeching the public to observe the social distancing rules. But the number of new infections is climbing – daily.

The Premier is his now almost daily web cast where he brings people up to data on what is happening; what they province is doing and putting critical data into the public realm.

He often beseeches, beg the public to be careful and cautious.

A significant part of the public isn’t listening all that well.

Today the province announced a new interactive self-screening tool. It is direct and the province wants people to use it every day.

CLICK HERE to access the app.

That isn’t likely to happen – the questions asked are pretty fundamental and we suspect that after a few days the people that need to hear the message and pay attention will be the first to get bored and stop doing the self-assessment.

Go to school

 

At the risk of being a cynic this Premier might have to announce on a Thursday morning that come Friday at noon all bars and places where people gather for non-essential purposes are closed until the following Monday.

Or perhaps a curfew to make the point. British Columbia put a curfew in place.

The number of new infections are still climbing. At some point these infections will work their way into the school system.

The public reaction will not be pretty.

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Council likes the idea of a Deep Energy Retrofit Program for the city - approved $182,000 for year 1

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

This is a long article.  If the Deep Energy Retrofit pilot project is a success – the results will be houses that are retrofitted and become low carbon generators which will add significant value to the property.

The recommendation to the Standing Committee was to approve a budget of $182,000 for year one of a project that has the potential to have 80% of the residential homes in the city retrofit by 2051.

The report presented was pretty dry – the conversation and debate was anything but dry – but it didn’t get unanimous support.

If the project gets approved at Council at the end of the month it will mean another raid on a Reserve Fund – this time it would be the Tax Rate Stabilization account.

What the Standing Committee on Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee (EICS) was doing was delivering on one of the election campaign promises.

Climate emergency graphicEarly in their term of office the Mayor led her council to declaring a Climate Change Emergency.

There was no stopping them once that declaration was cast in stone.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said, after more than an hour of debate that this is “exactly the right approach. We need a guide – approve this plan – we will find the dollars.

“We will solve the Covid problem – climate change is what is going to kill us all.”

The City of Burlington has set a target for the community to be net carbon zero by 2050. The development and implementation of a deep energy efficiency retrofit program for homes is necessary to achieve the low carbon scenario described in the Climate Action Plan for Burlington.
On July 6th, 2020, staff reported to the EI&CS Committee with background information and options to deliver a residential deep energy retrofit program in Burlington.

The initial implementation of the Deep Energy Retrofit Program including but not limited to a scale-able home owner pilot project, research on resident take up and commitment, homeowner technical support to energy retrofit including the involvement of Burlington Enterprises Corp, and that staff report back with any financial implications of the pilot project.

Scale-able Pilot Project:
Staff recommend engaging the Centre for Climate Change Management (CCCM) at Mohawk College and the Bay Area Climate Change Council (BACCC) to develop and implement a scale-able home owner pilot project.

The City has an existing partnership with the City of Hamilton and Mohawk College to accelerate action on climate change through the CCCM and BACCC. Both cities recently contributed financially to support the administration of BACCC.

The CCCM is embarking on the development of a business plan for a Low-Rise Home Energy Retrofit Delivery Program for the region of Hamilton-Burlington on behalf of BACCC, with the following objectives:

• identify the Centre’s core services to provide to homeowners
• develop a financially feasible business model for the program
• recommend a governance structure to promote transparency and accountability
• define program eligibility criteria, as well as monitoring and evaluations frameworks
• identify opportunities to scale and transfer solutions (e.g. integration with Brant or other adjacent regions, supporting multi-unit residential retrofits)
• investigate whether outreach and education services should be part of the Centre’s core mandate.

As city staff reviewed the CCCM’s proposal and objectives, it became clear that there is an opportunity and benefit to join forces with the CCCM to expand the scope of this work.

The CCCM can act as the project manager with financial investment from Burlington to develop and deliver a scale-able pilot program for a home energy efficiency retrofit project. The additional work to be managed for the City of Burlington will include:

Deep energy house graphic

What makes a home energy efficient?

additional home energy efficiency audits
market research
an initial survey of a scientific random sample of homeowners in Burlington to determine market readiness, barriers and demand for incentives
focus groups following the process to complete more in-depth analysis of homeowners’ experience following completion of a home energy audit and implementation of measures
education – engage organizations such as Humber College and the Clean Air Partnership to deliver workshops and online sessions to residents on deep home energy efficiency retrofits
marketing – promoting current opportunities and benefits to homeowners interested in completing home energy efficiency retrofits.

What can the city expect to get in a year for $182,000?

Kate Flynn, Acting Director, Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk pitched the concept to Council.

The Centre for Climate Change Management (CCCM) is an applied research arm of Mohawk College.  Their role is to help the Hamilton-Burlington transition to a thriving low-carbon economy.

They do this by catalyzing multi-sector collaborations with industry, community and government.

They bring collaborators together to work on designing and implementing solutions that are often multi-faceted and require industry, community, and government support.

Their approach is to co-design human centered solutions that actually address the systemic issues of why something isn’t currently working.

In 2018 the Cities of Hamilton and Burlington commissioned a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory. One of the main conclusions of that greenhouse gas inventory was that a home energy retrofit program would be one of the best opportunities for Hamilton and Burlington to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Essentially, a HERO – Home Energy Renovation Opportunity is one the most important tools to help Burlington meet its 2050 goals to be a thriving carbon neutral community.

Deep Energy - Supporting graphicThe CCCC works as an applied research arm, and as an incubator is that provides additional flexibility, capacity and expertise.

They want to co-design a project that meets Burlington residents’ needs.  Through focus groups and home energy audits, we’d engage Burlington homeowners, providing them with the audit report, then asking them what works for them and their needs.

They conclude that given the number and diversity of homes in Burlington, one size will not fill all – the need is to design a program that supports a diversity of implementable solutions.

The hope is that one day, we could develop “turn key” solutions – package deals for certain kinds of homes that are cost effective and minimize disruption.

And finally, we know the battle will not be on establishing a program – the battle will be uptake.

Right now, doing a home energy retrofit is a very difficult thing for homeowners to navigate. We need to make it easy and accessible through the creation of a Home Delivery Retrofit Centre.

The goal at the CCCM is to create programs that effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the local economy, so we keep residents’ interests at the heart of what we do.

We also want to flow resources and support for community organizations that are already DOING some of this work like educating homeowners, talking to people in the streets, and engaging people – we know that’s an essential piece of this and we want to activate current networks and amplify the great work local organizations are doing to do that outreach and engagement.

Deep Energy report coverWe also want to design a truly scalable solution – so one that can support the growing market and changing consumer needs, but also can expand to support access, equity and heritage homes.

As part of our partnership with the Cities, we act as the administrative and physical home of the Council but they are an independent group.

Not everyone was onside for a program that would make major changes in the city’s carbon footprint and run by a community college in Hamilton.

Councillor Stolte was more interested in a “made in Burlington” solution and Councillor Bentivegna wanted more detail and what this pilot project was going to cost in its second year.

Councillor Nisan pointed out that “we all supported climate change – and now we are fussed about $300,000. There will be a reward.

The CCCM views this as an opportunity to expand the scope, where the experience and results of the partnership with Burlington will provide additional data and information to support the business plan for a Home Energy Retrofit Delivery Centre.

Project Deliverables
The CCCM proposes the following work to be completed within a year:

• Business plan for a Hamilton-Burlington Retrofits Delivery Centre for Hamilton- Burlington region
• Report on implementation plan
• Results on a study of home energy audits in Hamilton and Burlington, in which the project team identifies common consumer needs to verify delivery centre’s core services (additional energy audits will be completed in Burlington)
• Market research for Burlington – survey of homeowners and focus groups
• Outreach & education initiatives for Burlington residents

The goal is to incubate the Delivery Centre so that it can eventually grow to become its own organization or partner with another organization where synergies exist. The Centre will provide the support and knowledge needed by homeowners, ensuring the energy retrofit process can be convenient, easy to access and effective.

Project Management
The project will be managed by the CCCM, an applied research division of the College, aimed at supporting the Hamilton-Burlington Region’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Project Advisory Committee
For 2020-22, the Bay Area Climate Change Council has identified the acceleration of a home energy efficiency retrofit program as one of its priority areas of focus. As such, the Bay Area Climate Change Council’s Implementation Team on Home Energy Retrofits will act as a project advisory committee. The Implementation Team will meet monthly to provide project feedback and guidance. This group will comprise of 8-10 stakeholders from across the home energy retrofit ecosystem in Hamilton-Burlington.

Municipal Consortium in Ontario
The Clean Air Partnership is continuing discussions with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to develop a municipal consortium in Ontario to support home energy efficiency retrofits.

There is talk about a loan program that would be financed by the municipalities.
The collaboration could take many forms from assignment of project leadership for a set of tools or in other cases it may be advantageous to have group development. Common platform pieces could include:

Deep energy - windows

Window upgrades are critical to achieving a low carbon foot print.

• One stop web site
• Program marketing materials
• Program outreach materials to key stakeholders (homeowners, realtors, contractors)
• Applications forms
• Client management system
• Client supports/resources
• Contractor supports/resources
• Better understanding how to handle and what are the differences in needs/capacity across municipalities with regards to these common platform pieces.

Staff will continue to monitor progress on this collaborative initiative and engage in discussions to determine the best approach for Burlington.

Options Considered
Staff assessed creating a scale-able home energy efficiency retrofit pilot program with in-house resources, however, the benefits of working with an external community-based organization outweighed that option. The CCCM can be flexible in managing the development of this program, has access to expertise within the college, has the ability to reach the community through its networks and, will receive additional guidance and support from the Bay Area Climate Change Council and

Implementation Team.
Mohawk College has a positive reputation for being a leader in applied research and skills training, an important element of scaling up the trades, skills and knowledge to support energy efficient building retrofits in the Burlington and Hamilton communities.

Total Financial Impact
Burlington’s total budget share for year one is $182,000 and year two $103,500. Year one includes one-time funding to develop the business plan and complete market research, including a survey and focus group.

The CCCM has applied to The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) for its share of funding of $32,800 for year one.

Source of Funding
Staff recommend the use of the city’s Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (TRSRF) for the one-time funding of $182,000 to partner with CCCM for development of a business plan, pilot project and associated market research costs.

As of June 30, 2020 the balance in the city’s tax rate $4.72 million net of commitments. It is important to note, that the city is projecting a year end shortfall as a result of Covid-19. Therefore, the TRSRF will not be replenished at year end with any retained savings, and furthermore, it is possible that the balance may be further drawn upon based on the year end forecasted shortfall.

Background links:

Burlington’s Climate Change Emergency declaration.

Green house gas emissions report

 

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HDSB reports two school related covid infections - meanwhile things at Charles Best run very smoothly.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The report that two students were found to be infected was incorrect.  Two people were found to be infected – they were not in classroom at the time – they had yet to start school.

Student with parent - getting saniitized and checked iin Sept 14

Parents walks her son up to the entrance at Charles Best

It was not an auspicious start.

First day back at school and the Halton District School Board reports a student at Brant Hills with a COVID infection.

In a brief statement on the Board’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee page they report that a positive test was recorded at the Brant public school in Burlington and the Garth Webb Secondary School in Oakville.

The COVID-19 Advisory Committee provides the number of positive COVID-19 cases that are connected to schools. For all confirmed cases, families and staff at the school will be notified by letter. Halton Region Public Health will contact any close contacts directly.

The web site page does point out that: “ A positive case at a school does not mean the individual was exposed to COVID-19 at the school.

They may have been exposed somewhere else in the community. The identity of the individual is protected by privacy legislation and will not be shared.

Neither school will be closing nor will any classrooms/cohorts be closed.

This morning students at Charles Best Public School arrived by car, by bus and some walked.

Best kjids off bus Sept 14

Students get off school bus and head for their classrooms – all wearing masks.

The start of the day was orderly with every student sanitized and let into the school.

Security was tight with principal Paul Thomson walking the perimeter of the school property in a safety vest and a walky-talky on his hip.

School buses arrived, students hopped out while small groups of parents, not wearing masks, chatted with each other.

It was a nice fall day and while things were a little edgy – the day got off to a good start.

Best Sept 14 - 2

Children on the right are keeping their social distance from people walking along the pathway.

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Schools throughout the Region ready for students to return - 20% have decided not to do so

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

All the angst, all the concern and even the worry on the part of parents gets faced Monday morning as those who have decided to have their children attend school send them out the door Monday morning – and hope that they are safe.

The educators – all the way from the Director of Education and the classroom teachers – even the custodial people – are anxious.

What happens when someone becomes infected?

There are rules and protocols galore out there to deal with the child that has a temperature or a runnier than usual nose.

Charles Best sign

The challenge is to stay positive.

There will be situations where someone will over react. And there will be situations where a situation should have gotten a closer look.

Everyone is on pins and needles.

Tonnes of money has been thrown at this problem. Schools have enough PPE to last them through to Christmas.

There are all kinds of “what if” questions.

Basically if there is a child that is not well – the child gets sent home.

The Regional Public Health Unit is all over this issue. If a child Is sent home – does the class get shut down?

What has to happen for a school to be closed?

Hand sanitizer replaces reception

Hand sanitizer and a sign in sheet at the only entrance to the school.

This will fall to the principal along with the Superintendent who oversees health issues and the Public Health Unit.  Every school has to post a notice on the school web site reporting that someone at the school has been diagnosed as infected.

The province has a reporting system that will detail where the infections were found and how many.

The communications lines will be wide open.

One should feel sorry for the students who sneezes twice in a row – they will be all over the kid.

Everyone at a responsible level is saying “there will be infected people who are identified as infected people. Some of them will be teachers – we have already heard of infected teachers and how the class they were teaching was closed.

Expect the number of infected people to rise. The big question is – how high might it rise and at what point does the province decide that schools have to be closed and everyone gets taught online.

Last week Paul Thomson, principal at Charles Best Public School, met with parents in an outdoor session with everyone six feet apart. “They asked questions” he said “and I gave them the information I had.”

No visitors sign

Entrance to all the schools will be strictly controlled. Parents will not be permitted to take a child into the school. They get left at the door where teachers greet them.

Thomson is a believer in keeping people informed and being open, direct and honest.

Monday morning the kids troop into the school. The hand sanitizer is just inside the the front door; teachers in full PPE will be there to greet the children.

Everyone will be trying to focus on the educating of the children in their care.

Whatever in the way of the covid virus gets into a school we know that someone brought it into the school.  The person who brought it into the school picked it up from someone else.  We are the people who pass this virus on to others.  If we keep a safe distance, wear our face masks and wash our hands regularly we will be safer.

The understanding at this point is that the virus needs to replicate itself in people.  By staying apart that virus can’t replicate.

Everyone believes that there will be a virus and that that will save us all.  Hope does spring eternal doesn’t it.

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Daily Covid in the Schools information available to parents and the general public

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Saying that “The Premier and our government made a promise to parents, that we would ensure that they would have access to the same information that we have.” the province created a web site that will report on the most up-to-date COVID-19 information available, including a summary of cases in schools and licensed child care centres and agencies.

If a COVID-19 case is confirmed at a school it will be posted to the web site.  Data is current as of 2:00 pm the previous day.

Click HERE for the web site.

Set out below is what one of the pages on the web site looks like.

 

Covid cases school report

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Reader questions the appointment of new vice principals at public schools - the appointments were not new - they were re-locations.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Several days ago we received a letter with no return address. There was a single piece of paper with five paragraphs with which the writer explained that she had learned of 19 new vice principals being appointed at the Halton District School Board.

The full letter went as follows:

As a teacher I am sending this note anonymously for obvious reasons – but you might want to ask some tough questions publicly.

As you are aware, additional spending has been required by the HDSB to prepare schools for re-opening during the pandemic and money is tight.

However, on August 26th, this board announced 19 new vice principal appointments) note these were not replacements – new appointments) to oversee in several schools “Virtual Schools”. Vice principals are not cheap and this money could have been spent further reducing class sizes in some of the more high risk locations, particularly in Oakville.

While I understand that a significant (perhaps up to 20%) of Halton students have chosen to learn from home, this was accomplished in the spring for three months without any bureaucratic oversight. And I didn’t notice any shortcomings that more administrators will solve.

These appointments do underscore a philosophy in the administration on Guelph Line that nothing good happens without Board oversight. Sadly, this is at polar opposites from reality.

grebenc 3

HDSB Trustee Chair Andrea Grebenc

We first communicated with the Chair of the Board of trustees, Andrea Grebenc, who answered our questions. She said there were just two new appointments. We asked for a little clarification at which point Grebenc, correctly we believe, said this was an operations matter.

We then put ourselves in touch with Director of Education Stuart Miller, who got back to us very very quickly saying:

Miller prep at Central

Director of Education Stuart Miller

As you know we created 4 Virtual schools (3 elementary and 1 secondary). They all needed administrators as they are now our biggest schools (16,000 students).

Also because of the number of students who chose distance learning, it meant the number of administrators required for schools in which they lost students to distance learning is not the same. Many schools became smaller and therefore could afford to lose an administrator (P/VP). Those were the ones redeployed.

There was one new appointment and that is because we had a late retirement of a Principal, the rest were not new assignments.

To our anonymous reader – don’t think there is any misbehavior here. The information you refer to does not appear to exist. If you have something that we haven’t managed to dig up – please send it along, and we will follow up.

I think you may have been misled or misinformed.  You did the right thing – you brought the concern forward so that questions could be asked.

At this point it looks to us that the board administration is scrambling to meet a dynamic and very fluid situation.

Our only comment is that 17 administrators for four virtual schools looks a little thick but the administrators are professionals and we have to trust them to do what they think is needed.  Better to have too many than not enough.

They are doing an impossible job in tough times.

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City will hold 5th Telephone Town Hall September 23rd

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

September 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City is going to host a fifth Telephone Town Hall on September 23rd that will focus on COVID-19 as we head into the fall season.

The event will be between 7:00 and 8:00 pm when information will be shared and questions answered.

These events have been very useful – it serves as a place for people to go when looking for answers and gives the city a sense as to where the concerns are.

That the Director of Education for both the Catholic and the Public Boards of Education are taking part suggests where the serious concerns are.

The Mayor will host the event; taking part with her are:

Tim Commisso, City Manager at the City of Burlington
Pat Daly, Director of Education at Halton Catholic District School Board
Stuart Miller, Director of Education at Halton District School Board
Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer at Joseph Brant Hospital
Mary Battaglia, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry, City of Burlington
Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development, City of Burlington
Allan Magi, Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services, City of Burlington
Rory Nisan, Ward 3 City and Regional Councillor

Members of Burlington City Council will be present and listening.

How to Participate
Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

1. Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca by the end of the day on Sept. 22.
Please note: if you registered for any of the previous town halls (held on March 26, April 14, June 4 or July 16), you are not required to register your phone number again. To remove a name from the call list, email getinvolved@burlington.ca by the end of the day on Sept. 22.

2. Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-779-0904 just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

Many of the questions not answered during the call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at burlington.ca/townhall, along with an audio file and full transcript of the call after Sept. 23.

 

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Public school board trustees hold their session in the Board room - six trustees take part.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It started as 1-1 conversations that Andrea Grebenc had with trustees on the virtual meetings the Halton District School Board was holding.
Grebenc thought it was time to hold meetings that took place in the Board room and not have all the participants communicating from their keyboards and cameras.

Grebenc frown

The technology at the School Board Board Room was at times not up to the demands of a meeting that was live and local for some and virtual for others – they made it work.

Once she had canvassed the 13 trustees she met with Director of Education Stuart Miller to look into the possibility of moving back into the Board room.

The question was brought up at an Agenda Review meeting early in August.

“We had to find out if public health regulations would allow us back into the building and how it would restrict us.

“Once we received guidelines from staff and reviewed them, we had a short conversation about it in private session.  That resulted in  the outline of a plan to see about moving forward. The limitations,  physically and technologically, were known.  I then posted a sign-up sheet for the first regular board meeting on September 2.”

Roche xx

Trustee Rocha

Trustees Gerrits, Gray, Rocha, Shuttleworth, Vice Chair Ehl Harrison and Grebenc were there as well as Director Miller.

“We were limited by the board room technology in the room right now as it is hardwired to our desks (which are not even a metre apart. The two cameras would not be able to capture everyone because of the social distancing.

“We settled on six as the maximum number of Trustees to take part.”

However after the first run Grebenc is looking at being in the Board room a little differently.

“There were some problems – but after last week’s pilot, that may be reduced as we had some difficulties with feedback and mics not working properly.

“Bringing the Board room up to the different technical standard was not something we wanted to do. The limited resources (yes, we spend a lot of money – but there is never enough to go around) result in our deciding not to funnel  resources from the classrooms and central administration to expedite the technology changes needed for 13 people (11 Trustees & 2 Student Trustees) who are still able to meet and complete their work online. We felt it was  more important to have the whole system focused on student and staff safety and the learning environments.

grebenc 3

Ear buds were driving her frantic – the six screen she had to keep an eye on made it a busy meeting.

“No worries – we will get there – it is just not a top priority – nor should it be.

“We are following the public health guidelines that were created for the board office. Facilities staff have measured out and designated places we are able to sit to meet the guidelines. There is hand sanitizer available in several places and masks as well. Washrooms are now single person. There are arrows directing us around, etc.

“Personally, I have to say that my set-up at home was a lot easier as I had my three monitors to work with (2 personally owned monitors and my board laptop) and didn’t have to wear the truly uncomfortable (verging on painful) earbuds.

“There are quite a number of screens that I need to use for the meeting to run smoothly:

voting screen,
voting responses,
request to speak form,
speaker’s list,
the google meet screen itself for the meeting,
email for emergency notifications (when someone is having technical issues like getting kicked off.

“The regulation is still in place that would allow the board meetings to happen remotely, so if we have to, we can function completely at a distance again. We are going to be in the board room again on the 16th and probably every meeting going forward.

Gray

Trustee Gray

“As for a public gallery, no. At this time, we are not opening the gallery to the public, but are continuing to live-stream and record board meetings as usual. We do not have any broadcast of the Google meeting available in the board room due to sound feedback issues, so the public would have to sit in the room with earphones watching on a personal device to have access to what everyone is saying – people might as well be doing that at home as there is nothing special going on in the room itself.

“We don’t even talk amongst ourselves in the room because we have to watch our screens and wear the earbuds to hear what is going on.

“We don’t have barriers between us physically in the room, but it sure feels that way socially.”

What is really interesting is that it was the Board of Education that was the first to edge forward a little bit and have at least some of the trustees in the room while conducting public business.

If Burlington city council wanted to come out of their closet as it were they could do so easily – there are just seven members of Council – there are 13 trustees plus two student trustees.
.

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HDSB may have to pull as much as $8 million from the Reserve accounts.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

HDSB may have to pull as much as $8 million from the Reserve accounts. Director is OK with that – no sense yet as to how the trustees are going to react.

The Halton District School Board trustees were given a close and disturbing look at just how big the COVID-19 financial hole was going to be. It was not a pretty picture.

financia updated

 

The financial story for the Halton District School Board is far from complete.  The $12.4 million in COVID funding came from the provincial and federal government.  The drill down on what those funds are going to be used for is set out in the table below.

funding

Here is how you spend $12.4 million.

 

covid exp

The above are expenses the board expects to incur when schools open on the -14th

The spending priorities as the Board sees them at this point are shown in the table below.   There are a tasks that still have to be fully costed – at this point they are at $9.6 million

spending prioities

The Board has $40 million in reserves.  Those funds are set aside for specific projects and a source of funds for unexpected situations.  The COVID-19 virus was one of those.  The Board is going to have to pull about $4 million from the reserves to cover the immediate expenses.  This is not something they can do without permission from the province.  School boards across the province were given permission to use up to 2% of their reserves on COVID related expenses.

Board administrators have not yet asked the trustees to approve the spending – they are just telling the trustees that this is the way they see the finances working out.  The HDSB may find itself having to take that 2% from the reserves which amounts to $8 million, which Director Miller said he “is OK with”.

What was of interest was the question Director of Education Stewart Miller put to the trustees on deficits and what they had in the way of a comfort level.

Miller told the trustees that budget shortfalls and the use of reserves are as much a philosophical question as it is a financial matter. What Miller doesn’t have to deal with are tax payers who look askance at increases in their tax bill.  That is the ire that falls upon trustees.

What Miller has to cope with are trustees who do their home work and press the Director for details and teach him how to find efficiencies.

Collard and Miller

If looks could kill – the Director was toast. Amy Collard, Ward 5 Trustee holding the Director of Education to account during the high school closing discussions.

Up until very recently Ward 5 Trustee Amy Collard was the only trustee prepared to and capable of going toe to toe with Miller.

In the past year the Chair, Andrea Grebenc, has gotten stronger and may now be at the point where she can bear down a little harder on the Director and ask awkward questions of some of the Superintendents.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Trustee chair listening to what Director of Education thinks on an issue.

The Chair of the School Board is a job that doesn’t pay very much and for the most part amounts to following staff recommendations. It is a job that takes time to learn – and things can get very sticky if the Chair is having problems – all too often they have to look to the Director of Education for guidance. The biggest job trustees have is hiring and holding the Director to account. It takes several terms as Chair to get to the point where he or she is independent enough to fill the role.

Grebenc showed some of her mettle with the two letters she sent the Ministry of Education; the second had a certain edge to it.  Ms Grebenc may soon be ready for a higher level of office.  She is the Trustee for Ward 3 – that ward could use a voice like the one Grebenc is developing.

Someone to keep an eye on.

Related background articles:

First Grebenc letter to the Minister of Education

Second Grebenc letter to the Minister of Education

Letters from the Board are sent on behalf of the Board

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Back to school: Did you register properly and can you change your mind.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Deciding to send your children back to school has been an anxious exercise for most parents.

parent with child - directing

Deciding what is right for your child – and changing your mind later.

It has been a challenge for school board staff who have to figure out how many students will be taught in a classroom and how many will be taught virtually.

Will there be split classes – possibly was what trustees learned earlier this week.  They were assured that there would not be any three different grades in a single classroom.

Where is the wiggle room for parents who have not yet made up their minds or who want to change their minds.

Parents can change their minds: The last day to switch between in-person and virtual learning is Tuesday, September 8. You must call the school and advise the principal.

Every school goes through a bit of a re-organization during the second half of September – there is sometimes a need to move students around to balance the load.

The opportunity to change a delivery model (i.e., in-person, virtual) will be: November 30 or end of Term 1 (mid-February).

For Secondary students (Grade 9 – 12) the time to change delivery model (i.e., in person, virtual) will be aligned with the end of quadmesters: November 12 or February 5.

School office staff will follow up with every family who has not completed the survey as the survey requires parents/guardians to complete the Self-Assessment Acknowledgement form (part of the survey).

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School bus challenges - the service will be stretched to the limit

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

School buses and Covid-19 are just one more worry for parents.

Sitting together on a school bus makes social distancing almost a silly idea.

School buses

Will the school boards be able to set up bus routes that cope with the need to keep students in their cohort everywhere possible – and will they be able to service every family?

The school board administration, in a partnership they have with the Catholic school board, run the school bus service using rented vehicles.

The routes will be quite a bit different and the students will be organized as cohorts – they will ride the bus with the students they are in a classroom with.

It is a logistical challenge and at this point the Board administration is not certain that they will be able to provide service to every household.

There will be no school bus service for the elementary students who will be at school on either Thursday or Friday of next week for their dry run at what a school day is going to look like.

Parents might want to think of ride sharing – and figuring out how to work within cohorts.

That phrase – we are all in this together – will take on much more meaning in the weeks ahead.

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Dry run for elementary students Thursday and Friday of next week

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Halton District School Board Elementary students will get to do a dry run on returning to school next week – the “letting students experience” a return to classroom takes place on Thursday the 10th and Friday the 11th.

Those students with family names that begin with A through to those whose family name begins with L will go to their school on Thursday the 10th.

student being hand sanitized

The Halton District School Board has a secure supply of PPE

They will be met at the school door, have their hands sanitized and get a face mask test to ensure the thing is being worn correctly.

Then they are taken to their class and given instruction on how school will operate for the foreseeable future.

Parents will not be allowed to enter the school.

On Friday, those students with family names that begin with M through to the end of the alphabet, will go through the same routine.

There will be no curriculum taught on those days.

Nor will there be school bus service to the schools.

Director of Education Stuart Miller asked parents to be patient and careful as they approach the school entrance.

desk spacing

Classroom spacing will be different. No passing notes from desk to desk.

The focus will be to teach them the importance of staying within their cohort and “exposing them to the new reality”.

The Board is working at making video material available to parents so they can prep their children for these introductory sessions.

outdoor exercise

Teachers are encouraged to get students outside as much as possible and to ensure that they stay within their cohort.

There will be washroom rules, recess rules, lunch rules and exercise outdoors rules.

Walking around the school will not be what it was when they left school in March. There will be direction markers along the hallways.

Intent to Return Survey

Parents/guardians (and students 18+) were asked to complete the Intent to Return survey by Aug. 23.  If you have not completed the survey, or if you have completed the survey and would like to change your response(s), please contact the main office at your child’s school. The last day to switch between in-person and virtual learning is Tuesday, Sept. 8.

 

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Tents as classrooms - not in Halton

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Remember that idea of holding classes outdoors? Some people were thinking year round outdoor classes.

It didn’t get very far at the Trustee meeting this week.

tent classroom

School Board administration found all kinds of reasons for killing the idea of using tents as classrooms.

Trustee Chair Andrea Grebenc raised the thoughts about fundraising for tents that would be used for outdoor classrooms.

They didn’t get very far.

In order to be at all useful – the tent would have to be quite big.

What would go into the tent? And who would be responsible for the cleaning and safety of whatever was placed in the tent?

There would be some vandalism.

In order to put a tent in place the Board would have to get a permit from the city – just the way they have to with portable classrooms.
Insurance and liability issues also had to be figured out.

The killer issue was that parents cannot fundraise for anything related to student accommodation.

That idea was off the table.

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Class sizes for the Halton Public School Board - below what most of the other boards in the province have been able to achieve.

News 100 yellow

By Pepper Parr

September 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Wednesday evening the Halton District School Board met – it was another long meeting.

No more desks set out in neat rows. The classroom furniture is now such that students can sit by themselves or in groups of two or three - up to eight. The objective was to create situations where the students learn to work as groups and to collaborate on a problem - question or assignment.

The number of students in the elementary classes is low – not the 15 many parents would like but nowhere near the 30 that was feared.

The fear that the school board would be jamming as many as 30 children into the elementary classes is unfounded

There are 244 kindergarten classes in the Halton Region. The regular class size in the past has been as many as 29 students. The average for the kindergarten classes starting September 14th will be 20 students.

In the primary grades 1 to 3 there are 450 classes in the Region. 90% of those classes must be capped at 20. There are 16 classesthat have more than 20 students.. The average is 18 ½ in each class.

The Junior Intermediate level there are 809 classes in the Region. The Board is funded for 24 ½ students. The average for the Junior Intermediate is 22.6

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