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Emma Jacobs

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.

Emma Jacobs is a native of Boston. She studied history, so she went for more practical training in public radio at NPR member-stations WNYC and WBUR. She helped shape Wired's Haiti Rewired project, a 2010 Knight Batten Innovations in Journalism Awards notable initiative. 

She's contributed to NPR's National Desk, and to Living on Earth, The Environment Report, Only a Game, Voice of America, and Word of Mouth.  She now reports for WHYY in Philadelphia.

BRANTFORD, Ontario — Rows of kids' shoes and stuffed animals fill the front steps of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in this city about an hour and a half's drive southwest of Toronto. Visitors have created this memorial for Indigenous children whose remains were found buried on the grounds of other former boarding schools across Canada.

Geronimo Henry, 84, is a regular fixture at the site, helping tidy up the tributes and speaking with visitors.

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MONTREAL — For the past 30 years, Carol Anniuk has provided accommodation and guides for recreational fishing trips in northwestern Ontario. In normal times, 99% of her clients are American. But more than 15 months after Canada's restrictions on nonessential travel went into effect to slow the spread of COVID-19, Anniuk, the owner of Young's Wilderness Camp, doesn't know when her U.S. clients will be able to cross the border.

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MONTREAL — With just over 3% of Canadians fully inoculated against COVID-19, a growing number of America's northern border states and communities have stepped up to offer excess vaccines to Canadians.

Truck driver John Harrower was on the road last month when he heard on the radio that North Dakota had agreed to vaccinate truckers from his home province of Manitoba.

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Canada began administering doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, with elderly people and front-line workers among the first to receive shots.

In Quebec, 89-year-old Gisèle Lévesque, a resident of the Saint-Antoine nursing home in Quebec City, became the first person in the province hit hardest by the pandemic to receive a vaccine, at around 11:30 a.m.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu appeared outside the Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Montreal in the afternoon, with newly vaccinated 78-year-old Gloria Lallouz.

A large and isolated region of northeastern Canada entered a lockdown this week as cases of COVID-19 creep up in parts of the country with limited access to advanced medical care.

More than 80 cases have been identified this month in Nunavut, where around 39,000 people, predominantly Inuit, live in communities scattered across a territory the size of Mexico. The worst-hit area, Arviat, has 58 cases in a hamlet of fewer than 3,000 people.

The new lockdown started Wednesday and is set to last two weeks.

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This spring, in Montreal, a box appeared on a fence beside a popular walking path and freight rail tracks that run through my neighborhood. It was painted white with black lettering reading: "Box for wishes/suggestions for the universe. All topics accepted."

Later on, a notepad and pen on a string got added, then replaced. Curious, I left a note on the cardboard backing the last time the paper ran out. The next day, I got a text from François: he'll be at the box, late, to collect the latest suggestions.

When the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts bought Manuel Mathieu's painting of his late grandmother in 2018, he learned that it would be the first work the museum had ever owned by a Haitian-Canadian artist.

"I automatically started thinking, 'OK, how can I make sure that I'm not the only one?,' " Mathieu recalls.

Mathieu, 33, decided to donate the money from the sale of his painting back to the museum, to start a fund to acquire other pieces by under-represented artists. Soon donors were eager to give to the Marie-Solange Apollon Fund, named for Mathieu's grandmother.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned down an invitation to the White House this week, it sent a message in line with the current mood in Canada: This is not a good time to travel between Canada and the United States — with the coronavirus still surging in parts of America — to meet with President Trump.

The White House had floated the possibility of an event with Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Wednesday to mark this month's start of a new trade deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico's leader is already on his way.

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The United States and Canada have agreed to keep their shared border closed for nonessential travel for another 30 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension during a briefing Saturday in Ottawa.

The restrictions on the world's longest frontier took effect on March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. The partial ban was to expire soon, but the neighboring countries have decided it is not safe to allow traffic to fully resume.

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