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Jasper Treasures: Rick Lagace – Jasper’s source for news, sports, arts, culture, and more

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Rick Lagace, store manager at TGP, is known for the friendly service he delivers at the store and how he helps folks in the community.  | J.McQuarrie photo

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

Rick Lagace has enjoyed the friendliness and comfortable atmosphere in Jasper since moving here in 2009 from Hay River, NWT. 

It didn’t take him long to start getting to know people and he’s the store manager at one of the best places in town to do that:  TGP, Your Jasper Grocer. 

Lagace has a long history in the grocery business. 

A couple of years into business administration studies at Laurentian University in Sudbury, ON, he got his first job during his studies as a grocery clerk in Sudbury. Then he got a job as assistant manager in Ajax at Food City. 

 “I moved all over Ajax, Toronto, London, then back to Sudbury, and back to London, and that’s when I said, ‘That’s it!’,” Lagace said. 

“That’s when I opened Country Style Donuts, in London. I had it for three years.” 

He started serving breakfast at the shop – it cost 99 cents. That was in 1989. 

“We were open 24 hours a day because we did everything from scratch,” Lagace said. “I made a lot of money but it was too many hours.” 

He took a year off from that intense schedule.

“Then I got bored,” he said. 

He was hired to be an assistant manager at a grocery store, the Northwest Company in Hay River, owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

“There’s lots of friendly people up there,” he said. “Everybody waves to each other.”

Winters aren’t as warm as the people though.  

“The winters are cold and harsh there. Your furnace runs all the time,” Lagace said. “Once you hit 50 degrees below zero, you just dress for it – cold is cold.”

But Lagace never wore a pair of winter boots there.  

“It’s a dry cold,” he said. “You don’t get the slush in the spring time and you don’t use windshield washer fluid.”

He also spent a lot of time swatting insects, including sand flies and horseflies that folks call bulldogs. 

“They’re big – bigger than you think,” he recalled. 

Lagace said the northern lights up there are “incredible”. 

“If you whistle at them or shine a flashlight they stop moving for a few minutes,” he said. “They’re so magical. Every part of the Northwest Territories produces different coloured lights – purple, yellow, blue – a multitude of colours. The farther up north you go, the more the colour change.”

In that area, Lagace said, there are a lot of rocks, no hills, and trees are tiny, tiny spindles.

Snowmobiling was a popular past time. To go tobogganing folks went to the Mackenzie River and slid down the banks. Lagace went on a fishing trip on a Bombardier and to a fish fry. He also went on dog sled rides. 

Ice roads are part of life in the north, a major route of transportation for big trucks from Hay River to mines in area communities. 

“I could hear the ice shift,” he said. “The ice could be eight to ten feet thick. It was solid but it cracked.”

It took a long time to get groceries.

“We used to order groceries a year in advance,” Lagace said. A transport truck took the supplies up to Hay River.  

“We’d separate them on skids, palletize it, and they were shrink-wrapped,” Lagace said. 

Then they were sent to outlying remote communities. When folks got word their supplies were coming, Lagace said they closed the town down and went to pick them up. 

If there are days when Jasper feels isolated, remember this: Lagace said by the time grocery orders got to those communities, the pop and chips were outdated. 

Lagace lived in Hay River for 11 years. 

“Then this job came available in Jasper, and I was hired right away,” he said. 

Working in Jasper brought him closer to family and friends, and to bigger centres. 

“When you come back (from an isolated community) you appreciate the things that people take advantage of,” he said, including coffee and snacks at familiar shops.

Lagace is known for his friendly, helpful manner, and that extends beyond TGP. 

He’ll see young folks and because he knows their parents from the store, will ask,  ‘How’s your mom and dad?’ 

He is a familiar face at the Alpine Summit Seniors Lodge. 

Before the COVID pandemic, “I’d go see seniors (there) at least once a week because they were my customers,” he said. “On Mother’s Day, I took them all a rose, compliments of the store. 

“They have worked all their lives, shopped at the store. It’s giving back.”

Lagace delivered specific items to residents at the lodge too, from strawberries to newspapers.

To say Lagace works full time at TGP is an understatement.

But ironically, the COVID pandemic has allowed him more time to relax. 

“This is the first year I’ve been able to enjoy the mountains,” he said. “You see them differently because you have time. You have time to breathe, just enjoy life. 

“There’s time to get out in nature, refresh my mind and enjoy Jasper, the community. It’s a very friendly place. I highly recommend it.”

Nominate a Jasper Treasure for our next feature! Email reporter@fitzhugh.ca.

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QAnon’s ‘Save the Children’ morphs into popular slogan | NanaimoNewsNOW

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“Why are we finally talking about it? Because we have a president who’s talking about it,” she said last month during the rally she organized in Morris, a conservative stronghold of about 15,000 people 60 miles (about 100 kilometres) from Chicago.

She promoted her rally on Facebook, as many other women are doing. Some also use the platform to launch private groups where they swap tips, rumours and stories about child trafficking.

Mentions of #SavetheChildren on Twitter began climbing in June and peaked in August when the hashtag was used more than 800,000 times during the first week of that month, according to an analysis by the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs conducted for The Associated Press.

The movement gained popularity as posts about QAnon spiked on Facebook and Instagram this year, prompting millions of likes, shares and comments on the platforms, a separate AP review of public social media posts found.

While Trump has not made “Save the Children” part of his campaign, he has twice publicly praised QAnon’s mission. Under his administration, however, federal prosecutors have less aggressively prosecuted child sex trafficking cases.

“I do know they are very much against pedophilia,” Trump said during his televised town hall this month, when asked about QAnon. “They fight it very hard.”

The movement’s rise has complicated the efforts of the London-based humanitarian organization called Save the Children and other nonprofits that have long worked to fight human trafficking and provided funding for the world’s needy children. And the conspiracy theories distort the reality of how people become victims of human trafficking, experts have said.

Save the Children — a century-old organization that aided 144 million children worldwide last year with a mission of ensuring kids grow up healthy, educated and safe — found its trademarked name coopted on social media. The charity has repeatedly said it is not associated with the SavetheChildren hashtag used to spread conspiracy theories.

Washington-based Polaris, the non-profit group that runs the National Human Trafficking hotline, created a myth-busting resource page on its website focused on debunking some misinformation that surfaced from QAnon after receiving hundreds of calls about human trafficking conspiracy theories over the summer.

Some social media users have been introduced to QAnon through posts about child sex trafficking that use #SavetheChildren. Facebook and Instagram tried to squelch those QAnon recruitment efforts last month by directing people who search for #SaveTheChildren to the official website for the humanitarian organization.

But the connections among “Save the Children,” QAnon, and Trump still permeate social media.

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly use #SaveTheChildren to promote memes and conspiracy theories about Democrats.

One such Instagram post that was liked nearly 12,000 times includes pictures of former President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It asks: “How much would you pay-per-view to see the FBI raid their homes and take them out in handcuffs at 3 a.m.”

A video viewed more than 5,000 times on a QAnon account features images of Trump giving a thumbs up to the #SavetheChildren movement and photos of abused women, with dramatic music in the background.

Under the guise of benefiting children, many of the posts seek to lure people into the QAnon conspiracy theory circle and encourage support for Trump, said Sophie Bjork-James, an anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University who studies the religious right and QAnon.

The movement is particularly attractive to conservative religious women, Bjork-James said. Her research on small, evangelical churches in Colorado Springs more than a decade ago found that human trafficking was one of the few political causes the congregations organized around.

“The core of QAnon is that Trump is the hero. It assembles a narrative to justify any of (Trump’s) actions as valiant and heroic,” she said.

Social media posts about QAnon and the “Save the Children” movement have also increased in Instagram communities focused on health, wellness and yoga that are popular with women, said Melanie Smith, the head of analysis for social media research firm Graphika.

QAnon and “Save the Children” have become such a force in the online yoga community that influencers including yoga teacher Seane Corn posted letters on Instagram last month warning followers not to “be fooled” by slickly crafted posts spreading misinformation about human trafficking.

Smith has studied QAnon for two years and said the conspiracy theory reached new audiences in recent months through hashtags like #SavetheChildren.

“The way in which people encounter QAnon, now, is through relatively mainstream, non-absurd topics,” Smith told the U.S. House Intelligence Committee during a hearing this month. “We’re seeing a huge explosion in content around child sex trafficking and child exploitation through the Save the Children movement.”

Vermillion hands out homemade leaflets with statistics and online resources for combatting child sex abuse. She said she avoids “Save the Children” Facebook groups promoting misinformation, QAnon and white supremacy symbols.

But there was some QAnon support at her rally. One woman held a sign reading, “Hollywood loves adrenochrome,” a reference to a QAnon conspiracy theory claiming baselessly that celebrities traffic children to harvest adrenaline from their blood to create a drug.

Vermillion insisted: “This rally today is not about Hollywood and drinking blood.”

Amanda Seitz, The Associated Press

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Johnnie Partridge 1935-2020 | News, Sports, Jobs

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CORTLAND — Johnnie “Gene” Partridge, 85, of Cortland, passed away peacefully on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, at home, surrounded by his loving family.

Johnnie was born March 19, 1935, in Clanton, Ala., a son of the late Johnny and Annie Belle (Ellison) Partridge.

Johnnie was a 1954 graduate of Jemison High School in Alabama.When in high school, Johnnie was a champion roller skater. He met the love of his life, Johnnie (Jones) Partridge, on the night of his high school graduation. He enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany. While he was home on leave, they were married in Jackson, Miss., on July 11, 1956. He was honorably discharged in 1962. He was employed at Packard Electric, Cortland plant. Johnnie was a true family man and enjoyed every family gathering throughout the years. After retirement in 1992, they enjoyed many years of traveling the country in their motor home. They settled in North Fort Myers, Fla., and visited Ohio in the summer months.

He was a master carpenter, who enjoyed building many garages, barns and his own dome home. He could literally do anything and was a master-of-all-trades. He was also an avid hunter. Johnnie loved watching sports, especially Duke basketball, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians. He enjoyed playing cards with family and friends and enjoyed listening to country music.

Johnnie is survived by his two sons, Randy (Andrea) Partridge of Cortland and Scott (Lynn) Partridge of Greenville, S.C.; niece, Rhonda Smith of Alabama, who was like a daughter to him; grandchildren, Lauren (Scott) Gibbs of Howland, Corey (Kristen) Partridge of Cincinnati, Jarrett (Meghan) Partridge of Niles, Austin Partridge of Cincinnati and Joel (Tayler) McElfresh of Cincinnati; and great-grandchildren, Cooper, Hunter, Belle, Easton, Dakota, Maximus and Violet.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Johnnie J. Partridge, who passed away June 14, 2018; and sisters, Virginia Cleckler, Marcelene Ginn and Faye Key.

Services will be held at noon Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, at the Carl W. Hall Funeral Home, 533 North Park Ave., Warren, OH 44481, with the Rev. Mark Biel officiating.

Friends may call from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, at Carl W. Hall Funeral Home.

Entombment will be in Pineview Memorial Park, Warren, Ohio.

Due to the current pandemic and mandate, masks are required, and social distancing should be observed.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Hospice of the Valley, 5190 Market St., Boardman, OH 44512, in his memory.

(special notice)



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Clemson QB Lawrence: ‘I Have the Option’ to Leave or Stay | Sports News

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By PETE IACOBELLI, AP Sports Writer

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is leaving the door open about his football future despite previously saying he planned on heading to the NFL following this his junior season.

Lawrence, the 6-foot-6 passer with the flowing hair, is considered the likely consensus No. 1 pick in next spring’s NFL draft.

But on Tuesday, Lawrence said he hasn’t ruled out returning to Clemson for another year instead of going pro.

“My mindset has been that I’m going to move on,” Lawrence said. “But who knows? There’s a lot of things that could happen.”

At the forefront could be which NFL team is in line to draft Lawrence. Right now, that’s the offensively challenged New York Jets, who are 0-7 and the league’s only winless team.

Lawrence, from Cartersville, Georgia, has a 31-1 record as a starting college quarterback and has the top-ranked Tigers (6-0) in line for a sixth consecutive ACC title and trip to the College Football Playoff.

Lawrence is scheduled to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in December.

Lawrence believes there’s a plan for him, “no matter where I go, whether that’s across the country or whether it’s close to home, whether I stay another year, we’ll work it out,” he said.

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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