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Saskatoon mayoral candidates pitch job creation ahead of 2020 civic election – Saskatoon



Creating and retaining jobs is top of mind for the six people running to be Saskatoon’s mayor in the 2020 civic election.

Incumbent Charlie Clark said, if re-elected, he’ll focus on protecting jobs now and in the future.

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For the short-term, he wants to collaborate with Tourism Saskatoon to create COVID-19-safe winter events, getting people out of the house to support local businesses.

“I’ve already been in touch with Tourism Saskatoon and their new CEO Stephanie Clovechok as well as partners like the Chamber of Commerce and (Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority) about how do we be nimble and adaptive and merge the work of the Saskatoon winter city strategy with some of the initiatives that these business leadership groups (have) to create events, activities in the downtown,” he said on Friday.

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“And in some of our business improvement districts in the area as much as possible to continue attract people inter-provincially to be able to come to the city and support hotels and restaurants while doing it safely,” he said.

His long-term plans include building a tech accelerator to help grow that industry and a food-processing hub.

“We have for far too long, been shipping off raw resources, raw grains, pluses, even oil without adding value and processing those resources right here,” Clark said.

Candidate Rob Norris said as Saskatchewan’s former employment minister, he knows a thing or two about creating jobs.

“My track record is rock solid from moving the entire business and investment attraction arm of the immigrant nominee program to Saskatoon from Regina, which I did as minister, to making significant investments. I know how important that relationship is with Regina,” he said.

With an established global network, Norris said he’ll focus on growing exports and attracting foreign investment.

“It’s about making sure that we are creating an environment for the private sector to thrive,” Norris said.

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Mayoral hopeful Zubair Sheikh said he’d also work to drawn in international investors.

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“If we want to give a boost to our city and make it one of the greatest cities in Canada, we have to introduce our city to the international markets,” Sheikh said.

“Even in Canada, if you go somewhere and you say Saskatoon and Saskatchewan, maybe a couple of people, they don’t know where we are. So we need to have our product directly sent to those Europe and central Asian, the (United) States and plus the southeast Asia … that’s my plan.”

Former mayor and candidate Don Atchison said he’d do the same.

“I want to resume the work to attract foreign direct investment, particularly by making connections with local established companies as partners. And I can tell you, I’ve spoken to many, many individuals out there who have companies. There is tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, of people in our community that want to be able to invest in new partnerships to make Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan healthier and more vibrant,” he said.

Atchison is also keen on building a downtown entertainment district.

“This will rejuvenate the city centre which will help retain current jobs in the construction phase and even more jobs for the long-term,” Atchison said.

Candidate Cary Tarasoff said projects like a downtown arena don’t create jobs immediately, so his focus is on job retention.

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“It’s a lot easier to keep existing jobs than to try to create brand new ones,” Tarasoff said.

He said during the pandemic, the city could help reduce costs for small businesses by bulk buying personal protection equipment (PPE).

“We can bulk buy as a city. We can bulk buy things, even though they didn’t do a very good job on their mask costs for the bus system. We could both buy enough that we could literally start helping smaller businesses and mid-sized businesses,” Tarasoff said.

He and others seeking the city’s top job say the city needs to reduce red tape.

Candidate Mark Zielke said the zoning and permitting processes take too long.

“City hall needs to get rid of red tape that prevents business from actually doing business here in Saskatoon,” Zielke said.

“When we’re talking about zoning issues, we’re talking about how much time it takes to go through processes at city hall. If anybody has gone through city hall for any of these issues. It’s not a quick process. In fact, it’s a bloated process. And their excuse is always put towards people on why the outcomes cannot happen. I’m in the business of making solutions happen and providing solutions, and that’s what I (would) bring to city hall.”

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The candidates ultimately agree whoever is elected must create a stable and collaborative environment for business owners.

Saskatoon’s civic election will take place on Nov. 9.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Early Voting Draws Some Crowds On First Day | News, Sports, Jobs




Chautauqua County’s election commissioners, Norm Green and Brian Abram, have provided a Voting 101 for local residents. Election Day is Nov. 3, but there are other ways to vote this year.
P-J file photo

Unlike last year, early voting appears to have plenty of momentum.

Sites in Dunkirk at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds and in Lakewood at the Chautauqua Mall reported lines of people waiting to fill out a ballot on Saturday. Waits at the locations were reported, at times, to be longer than five to 10 minutes.

Voting also is taking place at the Hall Clothier Building in Mayville.

This year’s ballot, besides the presidential race, includes county races for executive, district attorney as well as state Assembly, Senate and Congressional District 23.

Polls are open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., Monday and Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m. It continues through Nov. 1. Polls throughout the county will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 3.

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Lithuania holds parliamentary vote as pandemic hits jobs




VILNIUS, Lithuania — Polling stations opened Sunday across Lithuania for a parliamentary runoff election in which the winner will have to tackle a growing health crisis and high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The election is widely expected to bring about a change of leadership in the southernmost Baltic nation, which has been governed by a centre-left coalition for four years. In the first round of voting on Oct. 11, three centre-right opposition parties finished with a combined lead.

In the second round, 68 of the 141 seats in Lithuania’s legislative assembly, the Seimas, are up for grabs. The other seats were allotted after the Oct. 11 first round of voting.

The first round resulted in the conservative Homeland Union party winning 23 seats, or 24.8% of the vote, while the ruling Farmers and Greens party only grabbed 16 seats, or 17.5%.

“If the conservatives are successful on Sunday, they would very likely try to form a new ruling coalition with other two centre-right partners — the Freedom Party and the Liberal movement,” Vilnius University political scientist Tomas Janeliunas told The Associated Press. “Yet this would be a rather fragile majority.”

Some 54 Homeland Union candidates made it into the runoff, while the Farmers and Greens have 32 contenders. Together, the Freedom Party and the Liberal movement have 21 candidates. Two other centre-left parties that have crossed the 5% support threshold into parliament could join the Farmers and Greens in a new coalition but they have few candidates in the runoff.

More than 7% of Lithuania’s 2.5 million voters have already cast early ballots for the runoff, according to election authorities who set up special drive-in polling stations because of the pandemic. Voters this year must wear a face mask and bring their own pen.

Polling stations close at 8 p.m. and results are expected overnight.

Lithuania, a member of the European Union and NATO, has kept strong democratic traditions and sustainable economic growth since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. It has also played a major diplomatic role as the protests in Belarus, its southern neighbour, unfold against that nation’s authoritarian leader.

The country fared comparatively well during the first wave of the pandemic, but like elsewhere in Europe this fall, the nation of 3 million has reported worrying infection spikes in recent weeks. Overall, it has seen over 9,500 cases and 129 reported deaths.

After weeks of hesitation, the Lithuanian government imposed a quarantine in 12 of 60 districts that starts on Monday. Opposition lawmakers have criticized the government for not doing enough to stabilize the latest outbreak.

The economic impact of the pandemic has hit Lithuania hard: it’s unemployment rate was over 14% in September compared to 9% in February. The outgoing parliament had drafted a 2021 budget with a 4-billion euro ($4.7 billion) deficit.

Liudas Dapkus, The Associated Press

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St. Casimir’s set to get relief aid | News, Sports, Jobs




Commissioner Tom Warmka accepts a WWII memorial plaque from creator/designer Ross Pollard.

The Faribault County Commissioners are still busy allocating funds from the CARES Act.

They had previously distributed funds to three schools located in Faribault County. Those were Blue Earth Area, United South Central and Genesis Classical Academy.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, they heard from St. Casimir’s School in Wells.

St. Casimir’s had been without a principal when the prior meetings with school officials were held. In fact it was not until the school year began that Diane Edwards was hired to be the principal at St. Casimir’s.

“I want to thank you for your time,” Edwards told the commissioners. “My background has been in public education. This is my first job in private education.”

The commissioners inquired about the school’s needs.

“We are currently operating with in-person learning,” Edwards told the board. “We are looking to improve our technology in case we have to go to virtual learning. We would also like to be able to add some hand sanitizing stations and a secured entry system to control the traffic flow into our school.”

She told the commissioners the school had been able to purchase computers.

“We had access to some grant money to help us with acquiring the computers,” Edwards said. “We are still in the process of getting them set up.”

Edwards was asked what the current enrollment numbers were at the school.

“We currently have 26 students in grades K-6, nine in preschool and a number of kids in after-school care,” Edwards responded.

The board passed a motion making up to $30,000 available to the school.

Action was also taken by the commissioners to award the sale of refunded jail bonds to Northland Securities. Bids were solicited through noon of Monday, Oct. 19. A total of six bids were received for the resale of the bonds.

Arcelia Detert of PFM Financial Advisors, LLC attended the meeting virtually and informed the board the new interest rate would be .67 percent.

“The net savings to the county will be about $301,000 or about $40,000 per year,” Detert explained. “The maturity date for the bonds is 2028.”

Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni also attended the meeting virtually to update the board on the junkyard ordinance.

“After our last Planning Commission meeting we are wondering if the better way to address the situation would be through a nuisance ordinance,” Rebuffoni commented. “Approaching things in that manner would allow you to abate, assess and issue misdemeanors.”

She referred to an ordinance which Renville County is using as an example to follow.

The commissioners asked Rebuffoni to send them copies of the Renville County ordinance so they could study and review it.

“An ordinance like that would not pertain to salvage yards which are under state authority,” Rebuffoni explained.

There were some concerns raised by the commissioners.

“Laws limit you. I do not want to infringe on peoples’ rights,” commissioner Tom Loveall stated. “I do understand we need order. We cannot have chaos.”

Commissioner Greg Young also offered his thoughts.

“Understand, this is a process,” he said. “We are not trying to persecute people. We are looking at the concept.”

Rebuffoni had a reminder for the board members.

“The public has to be part of this process,” she said. “All counties struggle with this issue.”

Randall Anderson of the Faribault County Historical Society was on hand at the meeting to present the commissioners with a plaque to honor those from Faribault County who fought in WWII.

Ross Pollard, a local artist who designed and created the plaque was also on hand for the presentation.

“The plaque measures 18 inches by 12 inches and weighs approximately 12 pounds,” Pollard mentioned. “It is made of solid bronze and brass.”

Chairman Tom Warmka thanked the pair for the plaque.

“I know the families of the people listed on this plaque will appreciate this,” Warmka commented.

In other business:

• Public Works director Mark Daly gave a construction update with almost all county work being completed.

• A motion was approved designating First Bank Blue Earth, Wells Fargo, Frost State Bank and the State Bank of Easton as depositories of funds for Faribault County for a period of one year, ending Oct. 20, 2021.

• The commissioners passed a motion setting the 2020 Truth in Taxation meeting for Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the courthouse and via telephone/ video conference.

• The starting time for the regular board meeting on Dec. 1, was moved from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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