OTTAWA – The federal government is hoping a new research framework will help doctors better diagnose and treat the ballooning number of Lyme disease cases across Canada.Health Minister Jane Philpott introduced the framework Tuesday in the House of Commons, and also announced a $4-million investment to get the research network up and running.“The aim of the Lyme disease research network will be to generate new evidence and data about Lyme disease, about how to improve diagnosis and treatment and to help us better understand its causes and its transmission,” Philpott said.“We aim to help health professionals with diagnoses and best practices, and we aim to increase Canadians’ awareness so that they can take measures to reduce the possibility of getting Lyme disease.”Input from federal, provincial and territorial ministries, as well as patient groups and researchers, were considered as Ottawa looked to develop the framework, said Philpott.Just over a month ago, critics were condemning a draft framework put forward by the government, with some referring to it as “ridiculous.”They said the draft relied on outdated guidelines and ignored the explosion of research into Lyme disease over the past decade. Medical professionals also complained that Canada lacked the capacity to properly test for the disease.But while not all critics will be silenced, said federal Green party Leader Elizabeth May, she’s satisfied that the redrawn framework will move research and understanding of Lyme disease in the right direction.“I’m very relieved we have it,” May said Tuesday. “I think there’s been significant progress made over the draft issued earlier in the spring.”There’s still more to do, she added: “This is not going to be enough for people who are concerned, but I think it’s a very positive step that we’ve gotten here.”Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by the bite of infected ticks.The Public Health Agency of Canada said there were more than 900 cases of Lyme disease in 2015, up from roughly 140 in 2009. Preliminary numbers for 2016 suggest the overall numbers may have levelled off for now.But with the illness being diagnosed in southern B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, some estimates indicate Canada could see between 10,000 and 20,000 new cases each year, should the ticks that carry the bacteria continue to expand their range into other parts of the country.Federal health officials are partly blaming global warming for the dramatic increase in cases.The condition has been considered a nationally notifiable disease since 2009, meaning it has been flagged by the federal government and all provinces and territories as a priority for monitoring and control.— With files from Kristy Kirkup
Mayisha Akbar, Executive Director and Founder of the Compton Jr. Posse (CJP), a non-profit organization providing inner-city youth with a year round after school program that teams them with horses, announced today the award honorees of the 6th Annual Compton Jr. Posse Gala Dinner.In making the announcement Akbar said, “I am thrilled Patricia Heaton (ABC’s “The Middle”) will receive the 2013 Compton Jr. Posse “Community Visionary Award”. “She has made a lasting impact on our organization in a very short amount of time by her personal commitment to our mission.” Akbar continued, “Patricia’s vision to help us expand our base of supporters so that we can reach more at-risk youth has truly made a significant difference to our program this year. We are deeply grateful to her.”Akbar also announced Portia de Rossi’s (Netflix’s “Arrested Development”) selection as the recipient of the 2013 Compton Jr. Posse “Equestrian Excellence Award”.“Portia de Rossi knows through personal experience the power of horses changing lives”, she said. “Her journey and growth through horses and her willingness to share her story is a tangible example for our students to witness everyday.” She continued, “We are very appreciative of the powerful example Portia sets for CJP kids as a dedicated rider who challenged herself and changed the direction of her life.”The Compton Jr. Posse 6th Annual Gala will be held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center Grand Ballroom on May 18, 2013 at 6:00pm. This year’s theme, “Celebrating Horses in Hollywood”, includes a silent and live auction, dinner program and dancing. Individual tickets are available for purchase at the Compton Jr. Posse website, www.comptonjrposse.org.The unique mission, track record and grassroots organization of the CJP have attracted many high profile instructors and mentors to its ranks. Among them are Will Simpson, 2008 Olympic Equestrian Gold Medal Winner, Charlotte Bredahl Baker, Olympian and International Dressage Judge, and Mickey Hayden, world-renowned trainer, all of who donate their time.
Dan Cohen AUTHOR Officials in Helena, Mont., and two neighboring counties are beginning a 14-month effort to address land use and other compatibility issues that could interfere with operations at 6,730-acre Fort Harrison, a Montana National Guard training facility.A Helena-based planning firm will focus on eight concerns identified in a joint land use study, including light pollution and tall structures. The study identified issues associated with 18 of 23 compatibility factors, including land use, safety, noise, vibration, light and glare, land and air space, and interagency coordination and communication, reported the Independent Record.The firm will review Helena’s policy on outdoor lights and look for ways to adjust lighting standards to support night vision training at the post.To help avoid conflicts with routes flown by helicopters and interfering with military radio frequencies, the consultant plans to map areas where structures — such as buildings, transmission lines and wind turbines — should not exceed a mutually agreed upon height.The study will consider the use of Lewis and Clark County’s open space bond fund to protect tracts from development that could provide a buffer between Fort Harrison and new development. It also will explore the possibility of property acquisition to protect the post from encroachment.Military planners have grown concerned about the growth over the past decade in Lewis and Clark and Broadwater counties.“When Fort Harrison was built, the city of Helena was quite a distance away. There were mostly ranches next to the fort and very little potential for conflicts,” Laura Erikson, Lewis and Clark County’s grants coordinator, told the county commission before it selected which firm to hire.