Coping with COVID19 - having a plan and working that plan: Law firm does it right

News 100 redBy Staff

March 13th, 2020



When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) a pandemic there were different reactions from different sectors of society.

The city of Burlington said their Emergency Management Team was meeting to outline plans and that there was a Rapid Response Team in place.

Gowlings WLD, a national law firm with an office in Hamilton put out a message for their clients. It is a model of what can and should be done. It is clear that Gowlings has been preparing for a situation like this.

Peter Lukasiewicz, Chief Executive Officer at Gowlings explains the approach the law firm has taken.

Gowling logoFrom numerous public health measures to ongoing market turmoil, it’s no secret that the virus continues to take a major toll on populations and businesses around the world — and our clients in Canada and around the world.

Given these circumstances, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that Gowling WLG has been preparing for this unfolding situation since it first began to develop and we are positioned to assist you with the many unforeseen challenges you may face as a result of it.

How we have been preparing our firm
Gowling WLG has a robust continuity strategy in place designed to mitigate potential interruptions to our business — even during the most challenging of times. As circumstances change, we continue to adapt our plans and protocols to address the safety of our people, our clients, and others with whom we work.

All of our offices across Canada and around the world are open. We will apprise you of any changes to the delivery of our services — at the moment, there are none.

How we are helping clients
virus imageIn response to the outbreak of COVID-19, our firm has assembled a global taskforce to help clients navigate the many legal and business obstacles that have occurred as a result of the virus. With a view to further assisting our clients, we have also launched an online COVID-19 resource centre comprising timely thought leadership relevant to a range of sectors, as well as a list of key contacts ready to assist you. We will continue to update this page on a regular basis.

As we all continue to monitor the impact and progress of the pandemic, know that our thoughts are with everyone whose lives and businesses have been affected to date.

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City manager informs council on what his office is doing with the COVID19 pandemic - focus is on informing public and business continuity

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2020



They were minutes away from breaking for lunch when City Manager Tim Commisso asked if he could say a few words on the COVID19 situation.

Rory Nisan, who was chairing the Standing Committee on Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability was about to ask if that could be covered after lunch when Commisso began to explain that the city was going to be communicating daily on what the issues were and what the city was doing about COVID 19 – a second case had been announced earlier.

Tim Commisso - finger up hard eyes

City manager Tim Commisso

He pointed out that the Region was the health authority but that the city had to think about such things as operations, keeping places clean and policy issues.

Treasurer Joan Ford explained that she was creating cost centres to keep track of spending while Commisso talked about business continuity and the level of services the city was going to be able to deliver.

There was a concern over what could happen on the revenue side if Parks and Recreation had to refund fees that have been paid. Commisso wanted to ensure that no one got hit with any out of pocket expense.

Commisso also wanted to know what the public felt they needed to know.
His office is thinking through the delineation of essential services and determining what events the city departments have planned and if they should take place.

The province may well decide, he said, to limit how and where people meet and the municipal sector would have to enforce the provincial decisions.

The city has yet to create a point that people can email or call to voice their concerns.

Commisso will be working full out to cobble together the teams of people he is going to need to see us through this situation.

There are two committees in place. The Emergency Management Committee and a Rapid Response committee that has been meeting.

Commisso stare

City manager suddenly has a major public concern issue on his hands – seeing the city through the COVID9 situation.

There are a lot of decisions that are going to have to be made on the spot and Commisso wanted the public to know that his office is gong to be open, transparent and communicating every day with the public.

Councillor Nisan noted that they will be meeting at the Region on the 25th and as a Council.

Councillor Kearns jumped in and said waiting that long was not good enough: “We need to be on top of this daily and ensuring that the city manager has the support he needs.

The risk for Halton at this point is low – but there is a risk and failing to identify that risk and deal with it before it gets out of hand is not an option.


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Burlington oncologist self isolating with her husband: This is not the time to fumble the flow of information to the public.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2020



The oncologist, who works at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton and lives in Burlington, was tested as having COVID19 virus symptoms and is at home self-isolating for a period of 14 days.

Her spouse, who is a surgeon at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, also treated an unknown number of patients at the Charlton Avenue hospital before he too went into self-isolation at their Burlington home Tuesday night.

The Gazette has a question: Do the parents have children and have those children been sent to school?

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Heath.

Burlington finally got to hear from Dr. Hamidah Meghani, the Halton Medical Officer of Health (MoH) who said “Our case was not symptomatic on her flight, on her journey home, so we should not be worried about that situation,” said Meghani. “At this time the risk is associated with symptoms.”

Lumb HHS chief

Dr. Barry Lumb at a media event.

Hamilton Health Sciences physician-in-chief Dr. Barry Lumb said the oncologist “did not have respiratory symptoms” such as coughing, sneezing or fever.”

Dr. Meghani said she had “some mild respiratory symptoms.”

Which was it?

The news conference was cut off after less than 30 minutes and it wasn’t until the city held a second media availability in Hamilton at 3 p.m. that reporters were able to have all of their questions heard.

This is not the time to fumble the flow of information to the public.

Related news stories:

MoH was MIA

First COVID19 case in Halton

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First incident of COVID19 in Halton confirmed: patient is in isolation.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 11th, 2020



We knew it was going to happen – the when was the question.

When was today when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Halton region

Region MoH Meghani

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region

Dr. David Williams, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Halton region. This is the 37th case confirmed in Ontario.

This virus is manageable providing you pay attention and monitor your health. When in doubt – don’t delay – get to the medical authorities.

The virus can be held at bay and not spread – if those who even think they might be infected turn to the professionals who can do what has to be done.

A 32 year old female returned from Hawaii on Saturday, became symptomatic on Monday and was tested at Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) Juravinski Hospital on Monday, March 9. She is a frontline healthcare worker at HHS and resides in Burlington.

The hospital took all necessary precautions and followed standard operating procedures, including testing and assessment. The patient is currently at home where she remains in self-isolation. Halton Region Public Health, Hamilton Public Health and Hamilton Health Sciences are working closely and actively engaged in contact tracing and case management.

“Halton Region Public Health is continuing to work with provincial and local health counterparts and with the resident to identify all known contacts who may have been potentially exposed to the virus to assess if there is a potential health risk,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health. “The risk to Halton residents remains low.”

What the dood Dr. doesn’t add is that it is real.

“This incidence was detected very quickly and all proper processes were followed,” says Dr. Wes Stephen, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Hamilton Health Sciences. “When she began to show symptoms, infection control protocol was swiftly initiated and she was tested in a safe environment.

Out of an abundance of caution, last week, Hamilton Health Sciences expanded its criteria for testing beyond the standard case definition to include any travel outside Canada. As a result, this case was identified as quickly as possible. She is now in self-isolation protocol.”

Contact Halton Region Public Health by calling 311, 905-825-6000 or toll free at 1-866-442-5866 if you have a fever OR cough OR breathing difficulty AND any of the following:

• travelled outside of Canada in the 14 days before onset of illness; or

• close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19; or

• close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who travelled to affected areas within 14 days prior to their illness onset.

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 is to:

• stay home when ill;

• cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;

• wash hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;

• clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit

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Community agency steps in to inform the public on the COV19 virus: MoH is MIA

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 9th, 2020



Last week Judy Pryde, Executive Director of Community Living Burlington, wrote to Parents, Guardians and members of the Community about novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

She was writing to provide an update on the virus and report that to date there have been no confirmed cases in the Halton Region.

The province reports that there have been 31 confirmed cases in the province. In its report they provided a lot of detail that came from the Toronto Medical Officer of Health (MoH), Dr. David Williams, who confirmed two more positive cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ontario to 31. Of these, four cases in the province are all resolved, with each of those patients having two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

A female in her 60s returned from France on March 2, 2020 and presented herself to Scarborough Health Network – General Site’s emergency department, in Toronto, on March 7. A male in his 60s returned from Washington, D.C. on March 3, 2020 and presented himself to North York General Hospital’s emergency department, also in Toronto, on March 7.

Dr. Williams reported that: “In both cases, the hospital took all necessary precautions and followed standard operating procedures, including testing and assessment. The patients have been discharged home where they remain in self-isolation. Toronto Public Health is actively engaged in contact tracing and case management.

He added that: “As a result of the coordinated efforts of our health care and public health system, all individuals who have tested positive have been quickly assessed and isolated.

“At this time, the virus is not circulating locally. However, given the global circumstances, Ontario is actively working with city and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread. The province continues to carefully monitor this situation and encourage residents to stay informed by regularly reviewing credible information sources.”


Halton Medical Officer of Health (MoH) Dr. Hamidah Meghani

The province is taking the socially responsible action of informing and advising the public. That appears to be much more than Halton’s MoH Dr. Hamidah Meghani is prepared to do;  there hasn’t been a word from the Region to local media. Missing in Action (MIA) would appear to be an appropriate term.

Judy Pryde at Community Living Burlington said” We are keeping the employees of our agency up to date on this virus and we are re-emphasizing the need for caution and understanding around COVID-19.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infection that includes fevers, cough or breathing difficulty. At this point in time, there is no treatment for this infection and no vaccine.

Travel Health Advisory:

As of February 27, 2020, seven countries have been identified to be at higher risk for COVID-19, namely China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.
Community Living Burlington is asking all staff and families who travel to COVID-19 impacted countries need to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon return. If symptoms develop, please immediately self-isolate and call Halton Region Public Health at 311, 905-825-6000 or toll free at 1-866-442-5866. To date, all employees have been working cooperatively with these regulations.

How to Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Viruses

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19 is to:

• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
• Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; if no tissue is available, then sneeze or cough into the sleeve or arm;
• Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly; and
• Stay home if ill until your symptoms resolve.

Judy Pryde

Judy Pryde, Executive Director Community Living Burlington

“We will continue to send out information to our parents and guardians as things progress around this virus. The health and well-being of our employees and your family members is of upmost importance.

Kudos to Ms Pryde for doing the job Halton taxpayers hired the MoH to do. The mission of Community Living Burlington is to enrich the quality of life and to promote full and meaningful inclusion in our community of individuals who have a developmental disability.

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Racoon babies being born earlier this year - the result of climate change?

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 6th, 2020



A company involved in removing unwanted wildlife got a call for humane removal of 5 baby raccoons in an attic.

racoon 2

Cute at this point perhaps – you just don’t want it in your attic when it gets older.

“This is unique since raccoons don’t normally give birth until closer to April” explained Nick Nick Shewchuk, who is with Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control.

“This marks the second year in a row we have discovered babies in a home this early in the year. We believe this is triggered by the change in our winter season.

Skedaddle wants residents to know this can happen and what to do if they have babies in their home.

In anticipation of mating season for most urban wildlife, raccoons specifically, a video has been sent out.


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The power of a place called home: Open Letter to the community

opinionviolet 100x100By Eric Doubt,

March 4th, 2020


If you change the name Halton Hills to Burlington this Open Letter could have been written for Burlington as well.

In the links to additional material there is a link to a Gazette article – someone in Halton Hills likes us.

During a recent Regional Council meeting one of the representatives from Halton Hills admitted that there was homelessness and people sleeping on park benches in her community.

The person on the park bench spends another winter night in the snowy, wet, subzero weather. Some people in our neighbourhood are helping and the authorities and agencies are fully aware and actively seeking solutions. Similarly, you may be aware of others who are homeless in your neighbourhoods.

Georgetown signThere is homelessness in Georgetown(1). Some of us are vaguely aware that there may be. Some of us may try to do something about it but find it hard to create change. Some of us get upset or become disappointed and frustrated with failed efforts and a few may try to do more or learn more. Some of us just walk by the bench and say it’s just too bad and it shouldn’t be and don’t know where to turn, so turn away.

There is homelessness all over the world – in all developing countries, as well as those countries with the highest standards of living. There (here) it’s a chronic social problem driven by many complex factors including economic and social inequality, apathy, discrimination, impacts of mental illness, family dysfunction, alcoholism and drug addiction. Despite many well-intended and well-resourced studies and valiant efforts, we can’t seem to cure or prevent it.

Somebody had to come up with a different approach. What if we provided homes for the homeless; how might that change the paradigm?

The good news is – it’s been studied, researched and tried and it works. Quality of life gradually improves including: addiction behaviour, health, state-of-mind, ambition and action towards education, self-improvement and a return to society as a full participating member. The research is there and the results are proof.

You have to love the Finns. Four of them, a social scientist, a doctor, a politician and a bishop devised the principle called “housing first” over a decade ago. When I first read about this, I was dumbstruck. This article (2), one of many, describes the initiative: “As in many countries, homelessness in Finland had long been tackled using a staircase model: you were supposed to move through different stages of temporary accommodation as you got your life back on track, with an apartment as the ultimate reward.

“We decided to make the housing unconditional. To say, look, you don’t need to solve your problems before you get a home. Instead, a home should be the secure foundation that makes it easier to solve your problems.” Finland now has the lowest rate of homelessness in the EU and is on the road to eradicating it.

Now, let’s bring it home – to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Watch your jaw drop. This western city has been blazing the trail toward functional zero chronic homelessness in Canada, having supported and housed 1166 homeless individuals since 2009. There are currently fewer than seven individuals not yet ‘at home’ in their community, today (3, 4)

A conceptually simple, concrete and sustainable solution, but it raises many issues of social and political will and resource allocation.

What if our community tried the same thing and became, like many other communities well on the road, an example of innovative, collaborative and successful social action? We did it on a smaller but very successful scale for our Beer Fest and the Canada Day flag competition and fly over.

It begins with individuals, – citizens, politicians, community and business leaders, who have the social consciousness and conscience, and the will to act and demonstrate leadership.

Let’s take a look around and challenge potential candidates. I believe an action force comprised of three powerful groups within our community could launch our own Halton Hills Homes First program and succeed. The partnership would consist of leadership from Mayor Rick Bonnette and our strong municipal council – human resources from a cooperative of local service organizations led by Habitat for Humanity – coupled with the experience and capacity of a major local developer prepared to give back.

If you Google ‘’housing first”, you will learn about the many pros and cons, failures and successes, frustrations and challenges and yes, critics, naysayers and deniers. But, you will also understand that it’s the best idea yet and that may convince you to have second thoughts next time you walk past that park bench in your neighbourhood.

Media links:

4file://localhost/. https/


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Is there a Regional plan in place should the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reach pandemic proportions?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 1st, 2020



The coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  has been found in 47 countries.

We may be be close to declaring a pandemic, which is when a whole country or the world is infected.  China, Iran and Italy are struggling to control the spread of the disease. The disease is now being spread in the United States.

Ontario has now found 19 people who are infected.

There is much that is not yet known by this virus. It appears that most people do recover from an infection.

The damage to the economy has been significant; the New York Stock Exchange recorded the largest drop in its history.

Stock prices

Biggest one day drop of New York Stock Exchange prices in its history. “The game has changed with Italy and also with the new case in California,”

People have every reason to be concerned – deeply concerned.

Japan has closed all its schools.

It has been suggested that the Tokyo Olympics might be cancelled.

None of this is said to be alarmist – however we do have a serious problem on our hands.

Ontario learned a lot from the SARS outbreak – those lessons are serving us well.

The provincial Medical Officer of Health and the Ministry of Health has a constant flow of information – we are informed at the federal level and the provincial level.

We are not informed at the Regional level.

The disease is now in Canada.  It is being passed from person to person.  That does not mean the ravages of the 1918 Spanish flu is about to overcome us – but it does mean things have changed and public behavior has to change.

The public expects leadership from the people who we have put in place to lead.  The Medical Officer of Health is a critical part of protecting us.  Saying nothing is just not acceptable.

In the event that the virus gets completely out of control what does the average uninfected person do?

What does a person who suspects they might be infected do?

What does a person who is infected do?

If there are say 100 people in the Region infected – what do we do?

Is there a plan in place?

We have plans for people to use recreational centers when the weather is sub-zero and dangerous to be out in.

The public is advised when there is a West Nile virus concern – the Gazette publishes those notices regularly as we do with an outbreak of measles.


Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton’s Medical Officer of Heath.

The public has not heard a word from the Regional Medical Officer of Health on the COVID19 virus.

The public deserves better.

The Medical Officer of Health for the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health board told a local newspaper in that community that “It’s more of a communication event than a medical event for us.”

The communications advisors at the Region said the Medical Officer of Health had no comment when the Gazette asked for a comment.

Region alcohol

A report on Halton’s alcohol consumption took up more than 45 minutes during a Regional Council meeting

The Regional Medical Officer of Health did advise Regional Council recently  that Halton could well have a alcohol problem; the Regional rate of consumption is 5% higher than the provincial rate.

There is something wrong with the priorities.

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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Overdose Risk Posed by Another New Substance in Halton - Etizolam

News 100 redBy Staff

February 27th, 2020



HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service has been made aware of the presence of a novel substance in association with a fatal overdose in Halton Region. That substance is etizolam.

Etizolam is a synthetically manufactured benzodiazepine derivative (central nervous system depressant) similar in nature to Xanax, but far more potent. Etizolam is not approved by Health Canada for medical use.

Etizolam, when combined with opioids, has contributed to an increasing number of overdoses in Ontario.

Naloxone will not reverse the effects of etizolam.

Nonetheless, the community is encouraged to administer naloxone in the event of any suspected overdose, as you will not know what drugs caused the overdose.

If you use drugs, or have a friend or family member who uses drugs, these tips may help save a life in the event of an overdose:

Know the signs. An overdose is a medical emergency. Know the signs of an overdose and call 9-1-1 right away:

• difficulty walking, talking, or staying awake
• blue lips or nails
• very small pupils
• cold and clammy skin
• dizziness and confusion
• extreme drowsiness
• choking, gurgling or snoring sounds
• slow, weak or no breathing
• inability to wake up, even when shaken or shouted at

Don’t run. Call 9-1-1. Our frontline officers, and other first responders in Halton, carry naloxone and we want to assist. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides broad legal protections for anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. This means citizens, including youth, will not be charged for offences such as simple possession for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Carry naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available free-of-charge in Halton at:

• Halton Region Harm Reduction Services (Exchange Works)
• Halton Region Sexual Health clinics
• Most pharmacies in Halton

Never use alone. Don’t use drugs alone, and don’t let those around you use alone either.

If you overdose when you are alone, there will be no one there to help you. If you are using with someone else, don’t use at the same time.

Go slow. The quality of street drugs is unpredictable. Any drug can be cut with, or contaminated by, other agents or drugs (e.g. fentanyl), which in very small amounts can be harmful or fatal. Know your tolerance and always use a small amount of a drug first to check the strength.

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New Substance Detected in Halton - Poses Overdose Risk

News 100 redBy Staff

February 26th, 2020



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has received notification from Health Canada that analysis of a drug seized in Halton by the HRPS earlier this year has been identified as a mixture of flualprazolam, fentanyl, caffeine and dimethylsuplhone.

Flualprazolam is a synthetically manufactured benzodiazepine derivative (central nervous system depressant) similar in nature to Xanax, but far more potent.

While the HRPS is not aware of any confirmed or suspected overdoses related to flualprazolam in our region, the potential risk of this novel substance necessitated a community alert at the earliest opportunity. Flualprazolam has been linked to deaths elsewhere in North America.

According to the Centre for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE), “the human toxicity of flualprazolam has not been extensively studied but recent association with drug user death leads professionals to believe this new benzodiazepine retains the potential to cause widespread harm and is of public health concern.”

noxolone - police

Police attending to a drug user.

Flualprazolam is not an opioid, meaning that naloxone may not reverse the effect of an associated overdose.

Despite this, the community is encouraged to administer naloxone in the event of any suspected overdose, as you will not know what drugs caused the overdose.

If you use drugs, or have a friend or family member who uses drugs, these tips may help save a life in the event of an overdose:

Know the signs. An overdose is a medical emergency. Know the signs of an overdose and call 9-1-1 right away:

• difficulty walking, talking, or staying awake
• blue lips or nails
• very small pupils
• cold and clammy skin
• dizziness and confusion
• extreme drowsiness
• choking, gurgling or snoring sounds
• slow, weak or no breathing
• inability to wake up, even when shaken or shouted at

Don’t run. Call 9-1-1. Our frontline officers, and other first responders in Halton, carry naloxone and we want to assist. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides broad legal protections for anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. This means citizens, including youth, will not be charged for offences such as simple possession for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Carry naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available free-of-charge in Halton at:

• Regional Health Clinics (in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville) and Halton Region Needle Exchange Program (Exchange Works)

• Some local pharmacies. To find a pharmacy that distributes naloxone, visit the Ontario government’s Where to get a free naloxone kit web page.

Never use alone. Don’t use drugs alone, and don’t let those around you use alone either. If you overdose when you are alone, there will be no one there to help you. If you are using with someone else, don’t use at the same time.

Go slow. The quality of street drugs is unpredictable. Any drug can be cut with, or contaminated by, other agents or drugs (e.g. fentanyl), which in very small amounts can be harmful or fatal. Know your tolerance and always use a small amount of a drug first to check the strength.

The HRPS will not be providing further details on the occurrence in which the drug was seized.

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That plastic bottle that ends up in the ocean is ending up in the fish we eat.

News 100 greenBy Ray Rivers

February 14th, 2020



The baby boom generation has a lot to answer for. How many boomers can recall that epic 1967 movie, ‘The Graduate’. A young Dustin Hoffman was the dazed and aimless anti-hero stuck in a fractured picture of an overabundant American civilization looking for its next drug. And there it was, on the strength of advice from a well-intentioned guest. “Plastics… There’s a great future in plastics”.

plastic bio-degrading

Sifting through debris at a plastic bottle recycling plant has led to the unearthing of a plastic-munching microorganism that can break down polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The researchers who discovered the bacterium hope that it will provide a new way to recycle PET plastics by breaking them down into their building blocks.

Watching the news today it is hard to get beyond the threat to all of us posed by the Coronavirus, recently named COVID-19. A pandemic is an immediate, and acute threat and we are pretty sure that it will peak and then pass. Contrast that with the chronic challenges of global warming and something we’ve heard less about until recently, plastic pollution.

Micro plastic particles are omnipresent in our environment, the air we breathe and the food we ingest. We may not fully comprehend what that means, but it’s not good. Even in the most remote reaches of our oceans, fish now contain significant amounts of plastic in their bodies… and so do we when we eat them. And unlike the nasty COVID-9 virus, which will eventually be gone, the plastic pollution we have created will be with us for a very long time.

Who could have envisioned the potential impact of such a seemingly benign and inert product, developed to improve the state of our lives. Little more than a half century after our young graduate was turned-on to plastic we learn that there is now an island of plastic waste floating in the Pacific Ocean, three hundred kilometres wide and three times the size of France.

Back when they were filming the Graduate the biggest threat to our survival was the bomb and the Soviets. Whoever had thought of this bigger risk to our survival – big fossil fuel? Yes, the very people who are delivering rising sea levels, acidification and warming of the oceans, melting of the polar ice caps, and increased storms are also the same culprits who have given us plastics.

plastic in ocean

A huge belt of plastic photographed floating off the coast of the Caribbean island of Roatan, Honduras.

Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, and its production has doubled every 15 years. So unless we do something radical, by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish, ton for ton. Of the billions of metric tonnes of plastic that have been produced, fully 80% goes in the waste bins and over a third of that is ‘single use’ – used once and discarded.

Industry’s claim that plastic can be recycled is largely a myth, since less than 10% is actually recycled. In fact, half of all plastic manufactured becomes trash in less than a year. And eight million tonnes ends up in the ocean every year – the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash for every foot of the planet’s ocean coastline.

The prime minister promised that if re-elected he would ban single use plastic starting next year, but the devil is in the details. To that end the government has just released a scientific assessment of the plastics problem. Besides the potential of government regulations, there is already some action afoot to deal with the problem.

Clearly the place to start is to avoid the use of plastic. To that end many grocery stores are no longer offering plastic bags at cash outs, though a good deal of everything in the stores still comes wrapped in layers of plastic film and sits on trays of single use styrofoam. Many restaurants have switched to paper rather than plastic straws, or just eliminated them entirely. And many customers are refusing to accept plastic bags, when offered, for the products they buy.

Then there are a number of environmental non-profit organizations taking the plastic in their own hands by starting to clean it up. One of these is a Vancouver outfit called Ocean Legacy Foundation. Started in 2014, this organization claims about 25 staff, most of whom are volunteers to clean up the plastic refuse which gets washed ashore on the west coast every day. Since 2015 Ocean Legacy has collected 170,000 pounds of waste plastic from Canada’s western shorelines.

Though not presently operational in the Great Lakes, Ocean Legacy is active in Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama. In addition to hands-on clean ups, the organization has structured a program of information, education and advocacy which they offer to help communities get involved on their own and on their own shorelines. They have received some funding from governments as well private entities, and they do accept online donations.


The damage plastics in ocean water are doing to the fish we eat.

As important as these voluntary clean up actions are, runaway plastic pollution is a problem that drastically needs government regulation. Some of the larger manufacturers of plastic film and other packaging would have you believe they maintain a cradle-to-grave responsible corporate policy, something which was in vogue a few years ago. Yet they are missing in action when it comes to cleaning up the mess they have inadvertently created, since virtually all plastic is created as a product of oil and gas mining.  So why are big oil and the plastic manufacturers missing in action when it comes to cleaning up the mess they are responsible for?

Canada has become a highly divided nation. There are those who live in oil producing provinces and then there are the rest of us. That was made evident in the last federal election. The only political party promoting big oil won almost every seat in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

There is a simmering conflict and an emerging political crisis at our doorstep. The political leaders of those oil producing provinces may not personally be in the pockets of the oil companies but they are there to do their bidding as the industry endeavors to extract that very last barrel of bitumen.

The fight will be between the legitimate right of a federal government to protect the health of its citizens and the right of the oil companies and their sub-national political allies to monetize that last grain of bitumen laden sand. And the consequences of failure may well be the kind of protest action we are seeing among indigenous folks today over pipelines.

Plastics may have played a big role in our economic lives over the last sixty years but it has left us with a poisonous legacy. And its future is no longer great, given the unintended consequences of its widespread adoption.

Background links

Draft Science Assessment –     Great PacificGarbage Patch –     Fish to Humans

Plastic Waste –    PM’s Promise –   Swimming Through Pacific Garbage

Ocean Legacy

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Regional Medical Officer of Health not available for comment.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2020



Senior public officials around the world are going public and doing their best to assure people that the coronavirus is under control when it isn’t but we do know that huge efforts are being made to get it under control.

Public confidence comes from public leaders – which appear to be in short supply at the Regional level.

virus UK

Citizens in the United Kingdom wearing masks.

virus germany

Citizens in Germany wearing masks.

The Gazette was in touch with one of the Regional communications advisers on the payroll arranging to interview the Medical Officer of Health (MOH)  Dr. Meghani.
She was unavailable. We will come back to that.

We were asked what we wanted to talk to the good Dr. about (Huh!)

The communications adviser was typing most of what we said and sent us the following:

1. Is Halton Region Public Health working with the school board to issue communications to parents? What information will be shared with parents?

• Halton Region Public Health has been in communication with local school boards. We are continuing to work closely with superintendents to ensure that school administrators and families have up-to-date and accurate information.

2. Is coronavirus a public health concern in Halton?

• Halton Region Public Health is coordinating with local hospitals and communicating with key community partners such as physicians, long-term care homes and local school boards. We continue to work closely with provincial and local health counterparts to monitor the situation and assess potential health risk.

• While the risk to individuals in Ontario remains low, residents are encouraged to tell their health care provider if they have travelled to an affected area of China, and develop flu-like symptoms.

3. What should Halton residents know about coronavirus?

• Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms similar to the common cold, but in some cases can cause severe respiratory illness.

• The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as coronavirus is to:
• stay home if you are ill;

• cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve;

• wash your hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub; and
• clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

• Symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection include fever, cough and breathing difficulties. If anyone has these symptoms AND has travelled to Wuhan, China in the 14 days prior to illness onset, OR has had close contact with a person who is suspected or confirmed as having novel coronavirus infection, they should contact Halton Region Public Health immediately by calling 311, 905-825-6000 or toll free at 1-866-442-5866.

• While the risk to individuals in Ontario remains low, residents are encouraged to tell their health care provider if they have travelled to an affected area of China, and develop flu-like symptoms.

Region MoH Meghani

Regional Medical Officer of Health. Dr. Hamidah Meghani

Confidence in the leadership is critical when there is concern, fear, edginess about an issue. One can’t but know that there is a serious problem. A large part of China is in lock-down and we know that this virus is spreading.

People want to know what is being done to protect them; a memo doesn’t really cut it. The MOH can do better.

Related news stories:

The MOH knew how to communicate in the past.

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Provincial government and Halton Board of Education working with Regional Public Health to keep parents up to date on the novel coronavirus.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 27th, 2020



Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement in response to the first presumptive case of the Wuhan novel coronavirus in Ontario and following a briefing of the province’s directors of education:

“The health and well-being of Ontarians, including and especially our students and school staff, is our number one priority. To that end, earlier today Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, briefed Ontario’s directors of education on the province’s extensive protocols to monitor, detect and contain any cases of the Wuhan novel coronavirus.

Ontario continues to work directly alongside our partners at the Public Health Agency of Canada and local public health units to monitor the situation closely. Newly strengthened protocols for identification and control are working to keep the public safe.

We want to assure students, parents and school communities that officials at the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are working together in close cooperation with our partners in both the education and health care sectors to ensure the continued safety and well-being of students and staff.”

To help educate Ontarians about Wuhan novel coronavirus, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they suspect they may be at risk, the province has launched a dedicated webpage.


Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board

Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board said in a statement he released to the Gazette last night that he is in “close contact with Halton Region Public Health” and is “jointly working on a communication to school administrators and families” which he expects to have out to these people before the  end of the day on Monday.


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Mental health on Facebook Live - from JBH

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 27th, 2019



Steven Selchen JBH

Dr. Steven Selchen, Chief of Psychiatry at Joseph Brant Hospital

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Dr. Steven Selchen, Chief of Psychiatry at Joseph Brant Hospital and colleagues invite you to join them on Facebook Live as they have a conversation about mental health and access to programs.

Mental Health is not something that gets the serious attention it needs; many people still want to hide the fact that there are problems within the family.

The hospital is taking a very welcome step in opening up the subject in a way that is less public for those who face mental health issues every day. Kudos to the hospital.

Date: January 29, 2020 Time: 9:00 a.m.

Just log into:

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Party Clean Up - At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher.

News 100 blueBy Jeremy Biberdorf

December 17th, 2019



Hosting a party is fun and exciting. Whether it’s Christmas, New Year or a special birthday celebration, you get to hang out with all of your favorite people.

party cleaning

At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher.

However, cleaning up afterwards is not nearly as enjoyable. Ideally, you should clear up as much as you can as soon as the party ends. At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher. You should also check for any spillages that may be a lot harder to deal with the next day. Here are some other tips to make after party cleaning slightly less of a headache.

Make sure that you have the utensils you need:
Before you start the cleaning process, you should make sure that you have all the utensils and cleaning products that you need. This means that you do not need to run to the store and stock up half way through the process. Items that you may need include:

Dishwasher tablets.
● Clean and dry cloths.
● Antibacterial spray.
● Kitchen cleaning spray.
● Floor cleaner.
● Polish.

Check what needs to be done and make a list of the items that you need. This helps to make sure that you have all the necessary items.

Let some air in:
Even if no-one was smoking at the party, there is still likely to be a stale smell in the air. You may also be able to smell unpleasant scents such as body odour and stale alcohol.

This is why it’s so important to let some fresh air in. Open doors and windows and use air freshener spray if necessary.

Collect dishes and bottles first
It makes sense to collect dishes, glasses and bottles first. As mentioned earlier, this should ideally be done as soon as the party ends.

party cleaning 1

Pour unfinished drinks down the sink and clean any bottles that can be recycled

Pour away unfinished drinks and clean any bottles that can be recycled. Dishes and glasses should be emptied and placed in the dishwasher. Remember to check all rooms for dishes and glasses. You would be surprised where people leave things at parties.

Be methodical
Once rooms are emptied of obstructions like dishes, you can clean them. Clean rooms one at a time. You should also plan your cleaning so that you do not trail through rooms that you have already cleaned.

Clean the floors last
Do not clean floors until you have finished all of the other cleaning. This stops you from getting dust and debris on clean floors. Once you start cleaning the floors, vacuum first and then clean wooden floors and wash carpets if necessary.

Get rid of stains as soon as possible
You should try to identify potential stains as soon as the party is over. Doing this makes them easier to deal with. Some stains, such as red wine, present a particular problem. If you encounter a red wine stain, it’s a good idea to use soda water to try and remove it. Add soda water, then blot the stain. You may need to repeat this process several times.

Take care of repairs
Hopefully, everything in your home will be intact after your party. However, accidents do happen. This is why it’s so important to carry out a thorough check for damage, such as cracked ornaments and broken chairs. Repairs should be completed as soon as possible, to prevent them from worsening. Depending on what the damage is you may be able to use one product for all cases of damage.

It’s important to make sure that hosting a party is a fun experience that you remember for the right reasons. Paying attention to these cleaning tips can help make this happen, by removing some of the stress.

Jeremy Biberdorf is a guy with answers to almost any question you have on maintaining a household – be it a 500 sq ft closet in New York or a 2500 sq ft home in the suburbs.  Ask him a house maintenance problem and he will have an answer.

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Worobec runs her race - aims for a 3 hour 30 minute run.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 3rd, 2019



It was the day before the race.

Ashley at airport

Ashley Worobec at the airport waiting to board a flight for New York where she will run the New York city marathon.

Route 1

Spectators can follow the race on-line or if in New York they can chase the runners by using the subway system to keep up.

Ashley Worobec and her husband Chris were at the Pearson airport waiting to board their flight to New York. Her parents had travelled to Burlington from Calgary to take care of the two children and the family dog.

Ashley was less than a day away from the starting point of the New York City marathon –a race that includes some 52,000 runners. Next to the Boston Marathon – this is the granddaddy of them all – in the United States. The Race around the Bay has taken place in Canada since 1894 – three years before the Boston Marathon – but we digress.

Ashley has been preparing for this race for the six months. The Gazette has followed her progress during that time.

Why? Ashley put it best when she said “you set a goal, chase your dream and you keep at it day after day.”

Her last marathon was 12 years ago.  With a professional practice to keep up and two children the runs were usually when the sun was rising – which was nice in the summer but as the fall weather set in those were dark mornings and often chilly.

The drive, the self discipline, and the example she was setting for her children were all part of what she was setting out to do.

But there was more than that to it. ” The satisfaction in knowing that you could do something few people my age take on was important to me.”

Where to from her?  “Don’t want to say – my objective is to run this race.”  After that I will do some yoga

While Ashley is running her husband Chris will be scooting between subway stations in New York city to get to the viewing points where he hopes to catch a glimpse of his wife as she runs the race.

The first New York City Marathon was held 49 years ago in September 1970.

That first race had 127 competitors running several loops around the Park Drive of Central Park.

Over the years, the marathon grew larger and larger.  During the 1970s, the race was run in September. In the 1990s, the race day was moved to November.  The New York City Marathon has now become the largest marathon anywhere in the world. Each year nearly two million spectators line the course.

Veranzo Bridge

Veranzo Bridge – the point on Staten Island where the race begins.

The start take place on Staten Island where they leave in waves and head out over the Veranzo Narrows Bridge and head for Manhattan where the race ends at Central Park. It is the largest marathon in the world with 52,812 finishers in 2018

Because of the popularity of the race, participation is chosen largely by a lottery system. Guaranteed entry to the marathon can be gained by satisfying the requirements of the 9+1 program or the 9+$1K program or having completed 15 or more previous NYC Marathons, or meeting time qualification standards.

Ashley met time qualification requirements.

Ashley Worobec is a chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine. A former Boston marathoner, Dr. Worobec often runs the Chilly Half marathon and Around the Bay 30K. She has lived in Burlington for ten years with her husband and their two children.

A 40 year old mother of two children. She was always a runner but when the children came into her life – things changed.

The time needed just wasn’t available.

Her professional life had its own demands.

In 2015 she was one of the Torch carriers in the lead up to the Pan Am Games, which is where we first met Ashley.


Her time was where she wanted it to be – at this point she began to taper down the length of her runs. Race day was getting closer.

Ashley and Torch

Ashley Worobec – one of a select few invited to carry the Torch that opened the Pan Am Games in Burlington/Hamilton in 2015

When we learned that she had qualified for the New York Marathon we decided to follow her progress. The practice runs, the developing strength and stamina were all part of her work.  Throughout she wore a watch that recorded at all.  Her last run before tapering down was on October 23rd, when she recorded a run that went … well the results are in the image.

Ashley hope to complete the race in three hours and thirty minutes.  She is running with three other women from Burlington who will have husbands in the crowds – that will number in the millions – trying to catch a glimpse as they pass the various checkpoints.

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Countdown has begun: race day is less than a week away. Worobec has two short training runs before leaving for NYC!

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

October 28th, 2019



This time next week I will have completed the New York City Marathon.

One more week to go!

Status chart

This is exactly where I want to be a week before race day.

My taper is working, and today my watch showed me this fantastic “training status” screen that says “peaking.” This is EXACTLY what the taper is trying to do- the idea is that I worked hard through nearly 20 weeks of training, and now my body is in recovery mode where I can reap the benefits of that hard work.

It is often said that you cannot train too little during a taper, but you can definitely train too much. Over-training is a real concern at this point, as this is the time when runners start to feel antsy, and I’m definitely experiencing that.

My legs feel fresh and rested now and ready to run- and the taper starts to play mind games with you, as your mileage drops so significantly and so quickly, it’s almost as if you feel like you’ve forgotten how to run.

Ahhhh, the mental aspect of distance-running! I have two short runs this week (one 9k and one 8k) and then a quick little 3km on Saturday morning to shake out my legs, and then it’s raceday on Sunday!

My goals in New York are:
1. To enjoy the experience! I will be running with a dear friend of mine and we plan to soak it all in and enjoy the sights and sounds. This is a once-in-a-lifetime for me, and a goal I’ve been chasing for a few years.

2. A Boston qualification time would be nice; for my age group, that means I need to run a couple of minutes under 3 hours 40 minutes.

3. Ideally, I’d like to run under 3 hours, 30 minutes.


A goal of 3 hours – 30 minutes is well within reach. Is the Boston Marathon in the long range plan?

As you can see, this “race predictor” it shows that 3:30 should be well within my reach, but there are so many factors on race day that I can’t control; I’m trying not to get too wrapped up in a time goal. I’ve had many years of competitive running in the past, and my goals have changed now- these days it’s more about fun and fitness and friendships.

pumpkin 2

A white pumpkin?

We carved pumpkins this weekend and I used a NYC theme; I used a drill bit to shape the holes into the iconic “I love New York” sign. This year I’ll be abstaining from Halloween candy until after the race, as I want to give myself the best chance to perform on Sunday, and dozens of those tiny bite-sized chocolate bars will do me no good!

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The importance of looking after the caregiver.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 25th, 2019

Parents/guardians are invited to attend a free evening presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 aimed at addressing the importance of looking after themselves as caregivers in order to look after their loved ones.

The presentation by Michele Sparling is titled “Putting ‘Self’ in Caregiving – How Looking After you Helps You Look After Them”.

Seniors - caring for them

Who is taking care of the care-giver?

In this session, parents/guardians and caregivers will hear why self-care is an important part of the regimen of care, what it is, what it is not, and one family’s story of finding room to breathe and reset, in order to be there for their loved ones.

Presented by Community & Parent Partners for Kids (C.A.P.P. for Kids), the event runs from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at Gary Allan High School/New Street Education Centre (3250 New St., Burlington). There will be community displays from 6:45 – 7 p.m.

Michele Sparling is a Partner at Innovative HR and has 30 years of in depth experience as a results-oriented senior human resources professional. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration, and a Master of Industrial Relations. She is trained in mediation, facilitation, ASIST, Mental Health First Aid, and as a SocioPsychological Health and Safety Advisor. Michele and her family have lived in the Oakville community for 23 years.

C.A.P.P. for Kids is a partnership between Halton Region, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), Our Kids Network, Halton Regional Police Service, Ontario Early Years, Burlington Public Library, City of Burlington, and the Halton Multicultural Council.

For more information about this event, email

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Ashley Worobec: Set a goal, chase a dream, keep at it day after day…… and here I am, only 2 weeks away from the NYC Marathon!

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

October 23rd, 2019



My taper is in full effect and I’m enjoying the decrease in mileage.

Oct 20th run

My run last Sunday.

My longest run this week was 21km (I rounded up to 21.1km to make it an “official” half marathon distance), and it’s amazing to me that it actually felt like no problem. Just a few short months ago, a 21km run was quite daunting, and now here I am over the hump of marathon training, and 21km feels like a relatively easy effort.

It’s just incredible how our bodies can adapt to the demands placed on them, and how a challenge like this can be achieved with hard work and consistency. That’s what I hope people are gleaning from these training reports – that anything is possible! Set a goal, chase a dream, keep at it day after day…… and here I am, only 2 weeks away from the NYC Marathon!

I’ve been excitedly looking into the logistics of the actual race day, and you may find this part interesting. As you can imagine, it’s a challenge for race organizers to get more than 52,000 runners to Staten Island to the starting line! A few months ago, athletes were required to choose their race day transportation, the choice being a ferry or a bus. I chose the midtown Manhattan bus pickup, simply because the pickup location was closer to my hotel and it seemed like a warmer option, as I’m always cold and who knows what New York in November will bring weather-wise.

I’ve been assigned to a 6am bus pickup, and according to the website, the ride to Staten Island could take upwards of 90 minutes, depending on traffic. I am thankful that November 3rd happens to be the day after the Fall-back time change, so my 6:00am pickup will actually feel more like 7am. Once we arrive on Staten Island, we are separated into three Athlete’s Village areas – blue, orange, and green (I’m blue). At that point, we wait.

I am in the first wave of athletes, as I met the marathon’s time standard qualification rather than taking my chances in the general population lottery, so my start time is 9:40am. There are 4 waves; 9:40, 10:10, 10:40, and 11:10am; each wave will consist of roughly 13,000 runners.

post race poncho

Prized piece of post race loot. Proudly worn by marathoners.

We have also been asked to choose between a bag-check option and a post-race poncho, of which I chose the latter. This means that whatever I take with me to Staten Island will need to be left behind or carried on my person during the marathon; I will be wearing warm clothes over my running gear that will go into the charitable donation bins provided (these clothes are known in running circles as “throw-aways”), and anything I’ll want to eat during my wait will need to be brought with me as well.

There is food provided in the athlete’s village, but with a nervous pre-marathon stomach, I don’t want to leave anything to chance and I’ll be bringing some foods that I’m familiar with and know that my body can handle before a run. In exchange for this no-bag-check inconvenience, when I get to the finish line I will get the post-race poncho that is legendary in the marathoning world. Apparently this poncho is full-length and fleece-lined, and will be exactly what I’ll need to keep myself warm on the 2-mile walk from the finish line in Central Park back to my hotel room.

leader board

The app that tracks Ashley’s progress.

The NYC Marathon app- my data is live on there now. There is an option for people to track my progress on race day- the app will send alerts as I move along the race course. This “athlete tracking” is also what my husband will use to hopefully catch a few glimpses of me at various points along the race, as he navigates the NYC subway system.


Something to keep her hair out of her face while running.

The hat photo I’ve included here is simply because I’m starting to plan what I’ll wear during the race (weather-dependent of course), and I always, always, always wear a hat – it keeps my hair out of my face and the sweat out of my eyes. I’m really hoping November 3rd isn’t too cold and that I’ll be able to get away with this hat rather than a toque!

White habs toqueEditor’s note:  We are thinking about trying to convince Ashley to wear a toque – which we will donate.  A nice white toque with a Montreal Canadiens crest on it.  Do you think she will wear it?

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Worobec logs 259 km in the toughest month leading up to the New York City Marathon in November.

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

October 7th, 2019



Overall it’s been another good week, however my right Achilles tendon started to give me some grief a few days ago. With long runs getting well up into the high-30+-kms, a few aches and pains here and there can sometimes be inevitable. Thankfully, I work in a sports clinic, so I got treatment right away (laser therapy is shown here) and it’s feeling much better.

bright red x ray

This is what laser therapy looks like.

I had a drop-back weekend this weekend, so my run this morning was only 16km and I ran it completely pain-free.

Our peak run comes up this weekend- 38km on Thanksgiving Sunday morning, and you can be sure that I’ll take full advantage of that Thanksgiving dinner afterwards!

I am really happy with how September went, I was able to stay very consistent and run all 17 of my 17 scheduled runs. September was my peak month for mileage, and while I do have one more big week of training ahead of me, the majority of October is focused on tapering down the mileage and recovering to be ready for November 3rd.

Active daysThere was also a mix-in of gym workouts, weekly Pilates, and a couple of hot yoga classes. On the one hand, cross-training is still very important to keep me strong and not injured, however at this stage of marathon training, the cumulative effect of all the mileage becomes very real, and there’s a fine balance between doing too much and doing too little cross-training.

I have been doing private Pilates classes once per week for the past few months, and I really think it’s helped me to stay strong and be able to handle this marathon build.

heel being fixed

Easing the tension on an ankle

The Fall has brought darker mornings with it, and as I start most of my runs around 5:30am, my light-up vest has become a staple in my wardrobe. On my solo runs, I’m often listening to podcasts, and lately the topic has been, you guessed it, the New York City marathon. I’ve been listening to race reports and course previews, and I’m starting to get really excited about the magnitude of this experience.

More than 52,000 runners will be there (we’re sent to the start line in waves to minimize congestion) and more than 1 million spectators are said to line the route!

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