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Dr. Deena Hinshaw, ousted from Alberta, moves to job with B.C. public health leaders

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The former chief medical officer removed from her post in Alberta has taken a new job with B.C.’s public health leadership team, the westernmost province announced Wednesday.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who became the face of Alberta’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will work as B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer on a six-month contract.

“To help strengthen B.C.’s preparedness and response to present and future public health emergencies, I am pleased to share new additions to our public health leadership team at the Office of the PHO,” B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wrote in a statement.

As well as Hinshaw, B.C. has also hired Dr. Andrew Larder on “temporary assignment” for several months. Larder previously worked as a medical health officer for both Fraser and Interior Health.

“I feel very fortunate to work alongside such talented and dedicated public health experts and I know their expertise will be a great assistance as we emerge from the pandemic and continue to address the many public health challenges facing the province,” said Henry.

Hinshaw was replaced as Alberta’s top health official in November. The province’s new premier, Danielle Smith, announced during her first days in office that she would remove Hinshaw and recruit a new team of advisers in public health who consider COVID-19 an endemic disease.

Smith has made it clear that she blames both Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services for failing to deliver the best advice and care for Albertans as the hospital system came close to buckling in successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the bad decisions were made by Alberta Health Services on the basis of bad advice from the chief medical officer of health,” Smith told reporters on Oct. 22.

Hinshaw had served as Alberta’s chief medical health officer for more than three years. She had previously worked in public health since 2010.

 

B.C. health minister ‘delighted’ to see Dr. Deena Hinshaw move from Alberta

 

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Hinshaw’s “extraordinary” professional experience is welcome in the westernmost province, despite the circumstances of her departure from her previous post as Alberta’s top doctor.

Like Henry, Hinshaw became a familiar figure across the province through hundreds of regularly-scheduled COVID-19 updates in the early years of the pandemic.

She was widely commended during the early months of the pandemic for a calm, measured approach, but faced a series of controversies in 2021 — including an admission with former premier Jason Kenney that the province lifted restrictions too quickly in the summer and for receiving a bonus worth $228,000 that year.

On Wednesday, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said he was “delighted” to see Hinshaw move west and respected the work she did during the height of the pandemic.

“Alberta had its own challenges which … I was able to observe myself,” he said during a news conference.

“But I think this is an outstanding public health doctor, an exceptional leader, someone who was under enormous scrutiny of a kind I don’t think she would’ve expected — or anyone would’ve expected. She did an exceptional job,” he continued.

“I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to hire an outstanding public health doctor like Dr. Hinshaw.”

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Beltré, Helton, Mauer and Leyland inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Adrian Beltré, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton were pegged as athletic phenoms from a young age and all three lived up to expectations with their induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were so sold on Beltré early on that they broke MLB rules to sign him before he turned 16.

Beltré reached the big leagues just after his 19th birthday and was quickly considered one of the best prospects in sports as a teenager.

In Beltré’s induction speech, he says he played for his first team at the age of 13 and was a second baseman because his dad told him that’s the position he should play.

After a teammate asked him to switch and play third base, Beltré obliged and the decision paid off.

Beltré played 21 years for the Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. He became a five-time Gold Glove winner and is the first third baseman with at least 450 home runs and 3,000 hits.

During his playing days, Beltré made it clear that he did not like anyone touching his head so of course, his teammates ignored the request and made a habit of touching his head anyways. At Sunday’s ceremony, fellow Hall of Famer David Ortiz continued the tradition by touching Beltré’s head prior to his speech.

“That never relaxes me,” Beltré said with a laugh. “(But) it was a little cute to go back to my playing days. …It’s just part of being in this fraternity. Even though I don’t love it, I don’t like it, but it felt like I’m open to people to be able to play around with me. I always like that.”

Mauer was a high school phenom in both football and baseball in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was named USA Today’s High School Player of the Year in football in 200 and baseball in 2001.

He was drafted by his hometown Twins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft.

“It was truly an honor to be a (Minnesota Twin) and represent my hometown team,” Mauer said.

The future six-time All-Star catcher spent just three years in the minors before spending all 15 years of his big league career with the Twins.

Mauer finished his career with one Most Valuable Player award, three batting titles and is the only catcher in history with at least 2,000 hits, a .300 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage.

Mauer noted the emotion he felt seeing all the Minnesota fans throughout the weekend.

“It’s not easy to get to Cooperstown and especially with the events that have happened this last week,” he said. “But to see that many Twins fans out there, I just felt the love and I was just hoping that I could deliver the speech that I wrote down.”

Helton was also a football and baseball star and played both sports at the University of Tennessee.

Despite his dominance in both sports at an early age, Helton never felt comfortable in the spotlight or felt like a Hall of Famer.

“Those of you who know me know I’d be more comfortable doing anything other than standing up here talking about myself,” Helton said to open his speech. “I’m just a ball player and anyone in the media can attest to that fact.”

Helton’s claim to fame could have been that he was the quarterback at the University of Tennessee between future first-round draft picks Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning, but he was destined for bigger things on the baseball diamond.

After a knee injury in 1994 paved the way for Manning to become Tennessee’s quarterback, Helton shifted all of his focus to baseball where he was named the winner of the Dick Howser Award by the American Baseball Coaches Association and named Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Helton was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1995 amateur draft and never left the Mile High City.

After becoming the starting first baseman in 1995, Helton finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and posted a .315 batting average with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs.

He went on to become one of just three players to record multiple seasons with 100-plus extra-base hits in his career and helped the Rockies reach the 2007 World Series.

While Helton began the weekend feeling out of place, the second Rockies Hall of Famer knows he is where he belongs now.

“Just standing back there waiting to go up onto the stage, the guys were so kind, but they all came by and offered me advice,” Helton said. “For me, that was the beginning of feeling that I belong. But we have a players-only dinner tonight and I’ll probably feel like I belong after that.”

Jim Leyland was elected by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee. He managed for 22 seasons, won three Manager of the Year awards, the 1997 World Series, had a 1,769-1,728 career record as a manager and was the manager of the U.S. Olympic team in 2017 when the Americans won their only World Baseball Classic.

Leyland made sure to acknowledge the importance of the fans to the game of baseball.

“No matter which Hall of Famer you’re here to support today, or which team you cheer for, your presence is always felt,” Leyland said. “On your feet in the ninth with the home team clinging to a one-run lead, turning on your television for the first game in the World Series and seeing 50,000 fans hoping and praying that this may be their year, or a little boy or girl getting their first autograph scurrying back to the stands to show mom and dad what they just did. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s you. That’s baseball. And this is the Hall of Fame.”

Beltré led this year’s class with 95.1% of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote in his first year on the ballot. Helton followed with 79.7% of the vote in his sixth year of eligibility and Mauer received 76.1% of the BBWAA vote in his first year.

Other players included on this year’s ballot who fell short of the 75% threshold were Billy Wagner (73.8%), Gary Sheffield (63.9%), Andruw Jones (61.6%), Carlos Beltrán (57.1%), Alex Rodriguez (34.8%), Manny Ramirez (32.5%), Chase Utley (28.8%), Omar Vizquel (17.7%), Bobby Abreu (14.8%), Jimmy Rollins (14.8%), Andy Pettitte (13.5%), Mark Buehrle (8.3%), Francisco Rodriguez (7.8%), Torii Hunter (7.3%), David Wright (6.2%), José Bautista (1.6%), Victor Martinez (1.6%), Bartolo Colon (1.3%), Matt Holliday (1%), Adrián González (0.8%), Brandon Phillips (0.3%), Jose Reyes (0%) and James Shields (0%).

Sheffield was on the ballot for the 10th time without reaching the 75% mark and is no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration. Bautista, Martinez, Colon, Holliday, González, Phillips, Reyes and Shields did not receive the minimum requirement of 5% of the vote and are also no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration.

Joe Castiglione and Gerry Fraley were also honored during Hall of Fame weekend. Castiglione has been the Boston Red Sox radio broadcaster for a record 42 seasons and received the Ford C. Frick Award. Fraley was posthumously honored with the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for his work as a writer. During his career, Fraley covered the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and worked as the national baseball writer for the Dallas Morning News.

___

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Baby Gourmet Foods recalls organic baby cereal over possible bacteria contamination

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CALGARY – A brand of baby cereal is being pulled from all in-store and online retailers in Canada due to possible Cronobacter contamination.

Calgary-based Baby Gourmet Foods has issued a product recall for its Banana Raisin Oatmeal Organic Whole Grain Cereal, which is sold in 227 g packages.

The bacteria can cause serious or fatal infections to the bloodstream, central nervous system and intestines.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall was triggered by agency test results.

The company says no other Baby Gourmet or Little Gourmet products are affected by the recall and no incidents related to the product have been reported to date.

It says anyone who purchased the cereal should dispose of it immediately or return to the location where it was purchased.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Springer homers twice as Jays down Tigers 5-4 to avoid series sweep at Rogers Centre

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TORONTO – In what has been a down-in-the-dumps season for the Toronto Blue Jays, George Springer has lifted the spirits of his teammates and manager in the past month.

Springer played the hero role again on Sunday, going 3-for-4, slamming two homers and three RBI to push the Blue Jays (45-54) to a 5-4 win and avoid a sweep against the Detroit Tigers (49-51) before 38,766 at Rogers Centre.

“You want to watch when George is up because you never know what you’re going to see,” Toronto starter Kevin Gausman (8-8) said.

What Gausman and the Blue Jays saw in the series finale was a lead-off homer from Springer and a one-out, two-run blast from the right fielder in the third inning for his 23rd multiple long ball outing.

He also hustled to make a running catch in foul territory in the fifth inning and hurried to force the issue and gain a double in the fifth inning to set up Spencer Horwitz’s game-tying single to centre.

This was critical because rookie Justyn-Henry Malloy had put the Tigers in front with his first grand slam in the top half of the inning.

“He’s been an aircraft carrier-type where he’s saying, ‘get on, I’m going to lead the way,” Toronto manager John Schneider said.

The 34-year-old Springer struggled mightly out of the gate this season. But he worked on changing the path of his swing and began to see productive results in late June.

In his last 21 games, Springer has batted .377 (29 for 77) with six doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 25 RBI.

Schneider also reported that during the difficult times, Springer still helped out his younger teammates like Horwitz and Ernie Clement, who came through with the game-winning hit in the sixth inning, knocking in Justin Turner from second with a single to centre.

“I’ll be an open book (for teammates),” Springer said.

“It’s my job to help anybody I can to make a smoother transition in their career.”

Former teammates Dexter Fowler and Michael Brantley helped a young Springer in his early seasons with the Houston Astros. In fact, Brantley is still on speed dial and pitched in to support Springer through the challenging part of this season.

“I still annoy him every day,” Springer said. “He claims he’s retired, but he’s meant the world to me.”

Daulton Varsho also contributed in a big way to the Blue Jays’ cause on Sunday. He made a game-saving catch, leaping up against the left-field wall to snag Carson Kelly’s long fly ball with two on and one out in the eighth inning off reliever Chad Green, who also pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Gausman didn’t help his cause with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Gausman went 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and yielding four runs on five hits and three walks.

Detroit rookie starter Keider Montero (1-3) was replaced by Will Vest with one out in the fifth when Clement came through with his significant single. But Montero was responsible for Turner and took the loss.

Montero gave up five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.

Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had this three-game homer streak stopped, but he did check in with a two-out double to right field in the seventh inning.

SPRINGING AHEAD

Springer’s leadoff homer on Sunday was the 58th of his career. He only trails former Blue Jays outfielder Ricky Henderson (81) on the all-time MLB list.

ON DECK

The Blue Jays have a day off before their three-game set against the Tampa Bays Rays begins at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. Jose Berrios (8-7) will start for Toronto. The Rays will counter with righty Ryan Pepiot (6-5).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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