Q3 and Q4 Accomplishments 2014

Every day Halton Region delivers cost-effective quality programs and services to residents.  I am very proud of what we accomplished in 2014, as we continued our work to deliver on the Citizens’ Priorities to ensure Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.  Here’s a look at some of the activities completed over the past six months:

Attracting & Retaining Jobs

“Business After Five” Networking Event

  • On August 13, 2014, Halton Region Economic Development hosted the annual joint Halton Chamber “Business After Five” Networking Event.  The event was held in partnership with the four local Chambers of Commerce, attracted over 300 attendees and included a small business trade show.

Summer Company

  • The Halton Region Small Business Centre capped off a successful summer overseeing 12 student entrepreneurs as part of the Summer Company program.  Some of the businesses launched last summer included a hockey equipment reseller, children’s book publisher, a bean bag chair manufacturer/distributor and an audio speaker manufacturer/distributor.  Small Business Centre staff and local business mentors assisted with the training and coaching of the student entrepreneurs.

Halton Real Estate Forum

  • On November 6, 2014, Halton Region Economic Development hosted its fifth annual Halton Real Estate Forum which focused on the role of real estate in the quest for talent.  The event attracted over 200 attendees and offered real estate industry professionals an opportunity to network and learn about all Halton Region offers to potential businesses and developers looking to invest in the region.

Starter Company

  • Last fall, the Small Business Centre announced its first recipients of funding under the provincial Starter Company youth entrepreneurship program.  Michael Bertiean and David Nadeau received a grant for their new start-up company called Alias Apps, and they have located to an office in downtown Georgetown (Halton Hills).  Molly Burke of Oakville is receiving a Starter Company grant for her business as a motivational speaker.

Halton McMaster Family Health Centre

  • On November 28, 2014, the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre held its grand opening at Joseph Brant Hospital on Lakeshore Road in Burlington. This brand new facility is proudly supported by Halton’s Physician Recruitment program and is also a result of the 2009 Halton McMaster partnership which saw Halton Region and the City of Burlington provide 10-year funding to McMaster University to help establish a variety of programs in the region.

Invest in Halton webinar

  • On December 10, 2014, Halton Region Economic Development in conjunction with Sheila Botting, Partner & Canadian Real Estate Leader at Deloitte, held a webinar focused on locating to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and specifically Halton Region.  The webinar was targeted to Canadian and international site selectors and end users and had over 60 registrants.

Job Fair

  • Employment Halton held two successful job fairs, the first at the Burlington Convention Centre in October 2014 and the second at the Employment Halton Oakville location in November 2014. The job fairs were attended by over 1,250 job seekers and 65 employers, with over 350 interviews and 110 direct hires to date.

Promoting Tourism

Halton Tourism Investment Feasibility Study

  • In the fall of 2014, a provincially funded Halton Tourism Investment Feasibility study identifying specific outdoor tourism investment concepts that leverage Halton’s natural assets was completed for Halton Region Economic Development. Halton Region Economic Development is now working with the province to market these concepts to potential tourism investors.

Cycling Map

  • On August 29, 2014, Halton Region Economic Development published a new tourism-oriented Cycling Map which focused on some of Halton’s most popular road cycling routes as well as the Milton Velodrome.  The maps were distributed through local cycling shops, local tourism offices, the Halton Regional Centre, RTO3 (a pan-regional tourism marketing organization spanning Hamilton, Halton and Brant) and at events attended by the Region and  RTO3 including Epic Tour Halton (a gran fondo style cycling event that attracted 3,300 cyclists to Halton).

Pumpkin Trail

  • On September 19, 2014, the Halton Pumpkin Trail kicked off, showcasing Halton as a premier autumn destination by highlighting 26 unique pumpkin- and harvest-themed experiences.  A Pumpkin Trail map, created in conjunction with RTO3, was distributed at all local tourism offices, the Halton Regional Centre, participating Pumpkin Trail locations, Farmers’ Markets and Fall Fairs, and at all events attended by the Region.

Harvest Halton

  • On October 5, 2014, Halton Region Economic Development hosted the second annual Harvest Halton, a farm-to-chef event bringing Halton’s finest chefs and local farmers together at Country Heritage Park in Milton. The event which attracted over 400 attendees, featured 10 restaurants, 25 farmers and vendors, six musical guests, three wineries, two breweries and children’s activities.

Emergency Preparedness

Successful evacuation exercises

  • Mock evacuation exercises to test the newly-mandated fire drill plans were approved by local fire authorities and conducted successfully at all three Halton long-term care homes in 2014.

Region’s emergency operations centre systems and plans successfully tested

  • On November 27, 2014, members of Halton Region’s Emergency Control Group, which includes Regional staff, and all local first responders—Halton Regional Police Service, local fire departments and Paramedic Services—successfully tested the Region’s emergency operations centre systems and plans. A representative from Canadian National Railway was also on hand during the exercise because the chosen scenario was a major freight train derailment with hazardous materials.

Public Engagement

Citizens’ Reference Panel

  • Halton Region is once again holding a Civic Lottery to find 36 local residents to form a Citizens’ Reference Panel. Invitations to form the panel were mailed to residents across the Region in December 2014. Panel members will help determine which issues, services and programs matter most to the people who live and work in Halton. Their insights, along with input from the broader community, will help the newly elected Regional Council develop a strategic work plan and set out priorities for the next four-year term.

Customer Service

Accessibility update

  • Halton Region continued to remove barriers to people with disabilities and meet provincial accessibility standards.  Halton completed a 2014 Accessibility Progress Report which sets out how the Region continues to address compliance requirements in provincial accessibility legislation and provides an update on Halton’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.

 

Halton Services Information for Newcomers to Canada

  • The annual Halton Services Information for Newcomers to Canada event, held October 28, 2014, showcased a wide range of Regional programs and services available to newcomers as they settle into their new life in Halton. Key partners of the event are settlement and language training providers in Halton.

E-Mentoring program

  • The Halton Newcomer Strategy successfully launched the E-Mentoring program, a program that connects newcomers with employer mentors to build experience, skills and networking potential.  Also launched was an update to the Newcomer Portal. With a modern design and improved functionality, the Portal is positioned well to support the new Canada Immigration legislation, ‘Express Entry’, set to begin January 2015, including an active presence on Social Media.

Partnerships

Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program funding

  • Halton Region supported the City of Burlington’s request for provincial assistance through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) for residents impacted by the August 4, 2014 rainstorm that resulted in flooding in Burlington. On November 10, 2014, the Ontario government announced that the Province will provide up to $3 million to support the flood recovery efforts.

Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF)

  • Information sessions for the HRCIF occurred in Halton Hills and Oakville on November 18th, 2014. Just over 65 interested organizations attended the event and 48 organizations applied for the one-time grants funding category. The deadline for multi-year requests was December 12, 2014.

Capacity building activities for the non-profit sector

Addressing community challenges

    • On October 30th, 2014, in collaboration with Innoweave, J.W. McConnell Foundation, United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton, Halton Region provided five community networks representing approximately 40 organizations, an opportunity to create collective action plans to address complex community challenges such as poverty, food security, affordable housing, inequity and increasing inclusion.

Working towards accreditation

    • On November 3rd, 2014, 11 organizations participated in a Halton Region pilot project aimed at supporting non-profit organizations working towards Imagine Canada’s Accreditation Standards. The session focused on Board Governance Standards.

Crowdfunding

    • On November 12, 2014, 100 community representatives attended the “Let’s Talk… Let’s Connect” series for Halton non-profits. The session focused on crowdfunding – using the Internet to leverage small amounts of money from people to fund a project/idea. Ninety per cent of respondents reported an increased understanding of crowdfunding and 92 new connections between participants were reported.

Annual Tree Lighting events

  • Annual Tree Lighting events were held at all three Halton long-term care (LTC) homes in 2014 to celebrate the holiday season and highlight the supports provided to enhance the lives of LTC residents by the Willow Foundation.

Be an Employer of Choice

Halton one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers

  • In December 2014, Halton Region was named one of the Top Employers in Greater Toronto for the fourth year in a row. Now entering its 10th year, Greater Toronto’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by Mediacorp Canada Inc., the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognizes the Greater Toronto employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

Advocacy

Partnership

  • Regional Councillor Clark Somerville, Halton Region’s representative and Second Vice President for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM), attended the association’s annual Advocacy Days, which ran from November 18-20, 2014. Over 100 municipal leaders met with 145 parliamentarians during a three-day period to discuss solutions to national issues playing out in our hometowns. During the meetings, Councillor Somerville reiterated that continued partnership is necessary if we are to address the issues facing our families and communities, such as the urgent need to improve local infrastructure and create affordable housing.

Free, fair and reciprocal trade between the United States and Canada

  • At a meeting held Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Halton Regional Council unanimously voted to support a resolution calling on all municipalities to express support for free, fair and reciprocal trade between the United States and Canada, and the principle that any restrictive ‘Buy American’ provisions in the U.S. legislation are contrary to the spirit of free trade.

New Association of Ontario Municipalities Directors

  • At the Association of Ontario Municipalities (AMO) Conference, held  at the London Convention Centre from August 17 – 20, 2014, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and Milton Regional Councillor Colin Best were elected to their Board of Directors for a two-year term from 2014-2016.

Transportation

Construction update

  • During the second half of 2014, in the delivery of capital improvements to accommodate growth and ensure that the Region’s transportation system is maintained in a state of good repair, the Region completed construction for the:
    • Resurfacing of Guelph Line (RR1) from Conservation Road to 10 Sideroad
    • Resurfacing of 20 Sideroad (RR34) from First Line to Guelph Line
    • Widening of RR25 to four lanes from Highway 407 to Lower Base Line
    • Widening of Steeles Avenue (RR8) to four lanes from Lawson Road to Fifth Line South
  • Halton also began a number of projects , including the:
    • Widening of Dundas Street (RR5) to six lanes from Old Bronte Road to Proudfoot
    • Construction of the new William Halton Parkway (RR40) from Bronte Road to Third Line
    • Resurfacing of 20 Sideroad (RR34) from First Line to Guelph Line
    • Widening of Bronte Road (RR25) to four lanes from Lower Base Line to Britannia Road
  • Halton also began the design of a number of projects, including the:
    • Widening of Steeles Avenue (RR8) to four lanes from Industrial Drive to Martin Street
    • Widening of Dundas Street (RR5) to six lanes from Neyagawa Boulevard to Oak Park Boulevard
    • Widening of Britannia Road (RR6) to six lanes from Tremaine Road to Bronte Road (RR25) including a new CN rail Grade separation.
    • Work also commenced on Environmental Assessment studies for improvements to Trafalgar Road (RR3) from Steeles Avenue to Highway 7; and Ninth Line (RR13) from Steeles Avenue to 10 Side Road.

Infrastructure

Mid Halton Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion  

  • In 2014, construction began on the expansion to the Mid Halton Wastewater Treatment Plant from 75 Ml/d to 125 ml/d.  The project will support planned growth in North Oakville and Milton as well as provided enhanced treatment through Ultraviolet disinfection.  As part of the wastewater plant expansion, a new outfall will be constructed into Lake Ontario.  The outfall will be constructed deeper and further into the lake and will improve shoreline water quality.

Flood response

  • In response to the August 4, 2014 flooding event in the City of Burlington:
    • Regional staff assessed over 3,000 homes with reports of flooding
    • Initiated and managed over 130 detailed inspections of homes in areas of higher risk of future flooding events from sanitary sewer backups
    • Initiated a comprehensive Region-Wide Basement Flooding Mitigation Study

Halton Region’s Corporate Asset Management Plan 2014

  • Halton Region completed an update to the Corporate Asset Management Plan to be presented to Council in January 2015. The Asset Management Plan includes the Public Works 2013 Infrastructure Condition Report Card and a Corporate Asset Management framework, and will be required for the Region to be eligible for certain provincial funding opportunities. Halton Region Asset Management practices have allowed for the identified levels of service to be met and assets to be maintained in a state-of-good-repair.

Water/wastewater updates

  • The upgraded Washburn Pumping Station in Burlington came online in 2014 and has improved the pumping capacity for growth and additional security for Halton’s existing water system.
  • 4th Line well upgrades and Lindsay Court well upgrades were completed in 2014, improving water supply system security in both Acton and Georgetown.
  • The Dundas Street watermain installation (Appleby Line to Bronte Road), City of Burlington and Town of Oakville, was completed in 2014 and commissioned for duty to improve the integration of water supply across the Region.
  • The watermain installation on Childs Drive and Nipissing Drive in the Town of Milton was completed in 2014.
  • In 2014, a project was tendered for the new water and wastewater main installation in the Britannia Road corridor from Regional Road 25 to Tremaine Road, Town of Milton.

 

 

Planning Sustainable Communities

Official Plan

  • Halton Region completed successful negotiations with appellants to the Regional Official Plan.  With the success of the negotiations, the majority of the Official Plan will come into place.  On November 28, 2014, the Ontario Municipal Board was presented with the Motion for the approval of the Regional Official Plan that reflects the settlements.

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Permit to Take Water (PTTW) Rerating

  • After several years of comprehensive review, in 2014 Halton received an increased Permit to Take Water for the Cedarvale Well Field. This new permit allows the Region to meet water servicing needs in Halton Hills to the year 2021 in support of Council’s approved growth plan.  Staff also completed the required tests for the Fourth Line Well Field PTTW Rerating and monitoring, and submitted an environmental study report to the Ministry of the Environment for approval for increased capacity to service growth in Acton.

Water Efficiency and Conservation Strategy

  • Staff completed a detailed review of the water conservation and efficiency programs in 2014.  New strategy recommendations have been developed and endorsed by Regional Council.

Halton Children’s Water Festival

  • Last fall, the 9th annual Halton Children’s Water Festival was jointly carried out by Halton Region and Conservation Halton, in partnership with the City of Burlington and Towns of Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville and the Halton & Halton Catholic District School Boards. To date, the Festival has inspired nearly 30,000 students to learn about water conservation and increased water use awareness.

Waste Management

Burlington Flooding event assistance

  • In response to the August 2014 flooding event, Halton Region implemented a special garbage and bulk waste collection service in Burlington. Between August and October 31, 2014, the Region waived the curbside garbage bag and bulk item limit and provided additional collection vehicles outside of the regular collection schedule.

Special Waste Drop-off Days

  • Halton Region held Special Waste Drop-off Days in Burlington and Oakville in the fall of 2014.  Approximately 1,500 residents attended the events designed to provide Halton residents with a convenient opportunity to safely recycle and dispose of items like electronics and household hazardous waste, which should not be placed in the garbage. Halton Region held the final Special Waste Drop-off Day of 2014 in Milton.  Approximately 400 residents attended the event designed to provide Halton residents with a convenient opportunity to safely recycle and dispose of items like electronics and household hazardous waste, which should not be placed in the garbage.

Fall Compost Giveaway

  • In September, approximately 500 residents attended Halton’s annual one-day Fall Compost Giveaway at the Halton Waste Management Site. During the event, residents picked up processed compost to use in their garden and landscaping projects.  Halton residents also generously donated 710 kg of non-perishable food items and contributed $1,300 for local Halton food banks.

Forcemain Connection at the Closed 4th Line Landfill in Oakville

  • In October 2014, Halton Region completed the forcemain connection at the Closed 4th Line Landfill in Oakville providing for the disposal of leachate directly to the sewer.  As a result, the need for daily leachate haulage services has been eliminated at an annual cost savings of approximately $200,000.

Defining and Preserving Natural Heritage

White Oak Tree legacy extended

  • In 2014, the Region announced that 1,000 White Oak seedlings are set to be planted across Halton Region, extending the legacy of the popular Bronte Road tree for future generations. The seedlings were planted five years ago when acorns were collected and planted to preserve the heritage and genetics of the White Oak Tree.  The new trees will now green various parks, schools and naturalization areas throughout the community.

Affordable and Assisted Housing

Additional transitional housing opportunities

  • Halton Region partnered with Milton Transitional Housing in 2014 to expand transitional housing opportunities in North Halton. Nine additional housing opportunities are now available providing immediate support to Halton residents in need.

Halton Housing Help expanded

  • Halton Housing Help (HHH) was expanded in 2014 to include resources for Halton landlords. This complements the resources already made available to Halton tenants. Halton landlords can now access information supports, expertise in navigating landlord/tenant matters as well as a landlord school. HHH will also work with Halton landlords to expand Halton Region’s rent supplement opportunities to assist low income Halton residents with their housing needs.

Westwood 2

  • Halton Region worked with New Horizons, a private sector developer, to create 37 new units of government assisted housing in Burlington. Five of these units are supportive housing in partnership with Able Living. Thirty-seven residents from the Halton Access to Community Housing (HATCH) wait list moved into the new units in October/November. All 37 units are 1-bedroom units which are the most requested from HATCH clients.  The Region is providing rent supplement to all 37 clients through its Halton Rental Assistance Program (HRAP) for 20 years to ensure that rents remain affordable.

Halton In-situ Program Launch

  • Halton Region’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy (CHS) Update 2014-2024 commits to the creation of a program to assist Halton residents in paying their rent where they currently reside. In November 2014, HIP was launched which provides rent funding directly to Halton residents. Monthly funding amounts range from $250-$850 per month. Funding is sourced to Halton clients on the Halton Access to Community Housing (HATCH) waitlist on a chronological basis. This fund keeps Halton residents in their homes while reducing the wait list for government assisted housing in Halton Region. Halton residents were canvassed on HATCH as part of the annual update process; 75 per cent of Halton residents signalled their support for HIP.  The first group of eligible clients has started to receive applications and payments.

New Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) Extension

  • The Province announced a six-year extension to the Investment in Affordable Housing Program in 2014 and $801M has been earmarked across Ontario.  Halton Region has been allocated $2,299,100 in Year One funding.  Halton Region’s allocation for Years Two to Six has yet to be made available by the Province.  Funding can be used for four distinct program components:
    • Rental Component – provides up to $150,000 for the creation of new government assisted housing stock;
    • Homeownership Component – provides funding to eligible homeowners to reduce their purchase price;
    • Ontario Renovates – provides funding to Halton residents to make improvements to their homes; and
    • Operating Component – provides funding to Halton landlords and/or tenants to address housing affordability issues.

Halton will be allocating Year One funding to the Rental and Operating Components.

Support and Housing Halton congregate living pilot

  • In December 2014, Halton Region partnered with Support and Housing Halton to co-fund a congregate living pilot program for homeless women in receipt of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works. The two-year pilot will support the overall operating costs of the congregate living townhome operated by Support and Housing Halton.  Clients will receive monthly funding from the regionally-funded Halton Rental Assistance Program (HRAP) throughout the two year pilot.  All three clients will be sourced from the Halton Access to Community Housing (HATCH) waitlist.

Children and Youth Development

Public health nurses support schools

  • In collaboration with school board partners, a new School Health Service Delivery Model was launched in September 2014 with over 150 principals in attendance at three breakfast meetings. The model, which provides enhanced access to free resources and support for all schools, also enables intensive public health nurse support to specific school clusters (i.e., a high school and their feeder schools) and schools in vulnerable communities.

HaltonParents now on Facebook

  • Since August 18, 2014, Public Health Nurses and Registered Dietitians have been providing parents and caregivers of children aged 0-12 with health and parenting information on Facebook. Close to 1,000 friends have ‘liked’ the page and the reach is growing daily. This new method of service delivery empowers parents, caregivers and parents-to-be with resources and support to raise healthy families. Join the conversation at facebook.com/haltonparents.

Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition annual meeting

  • On November 7, 2014, the Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition welcomed Baldev Mutta, CEO of Punjabi Community Health Services, to speak with 130 Halton residents and professionals about the mental health needs of the South Asian community. The meeting also profiled Gay Straight Alliances from both the Halton District and Halton Catholic school boards.

 

Emergent curriculum event

  • A Social & Community Services community event on emergent curriculum was held last fall with Susan Stacey, an early childhood consultant, author and teacher educator with more than thirty years of experience.  Emergent curriculum encourages early childhood educators to use creativity and flexibility as they respond to classroom challenges and children’s interests.  Over 500 attended from the community for four days of training and reflection.

Seniors

Allendale update

  • During the fall of 2014, Halton Region Asset Management installed a state-of-the-art generator at Allendale Long-Term Care Home to ensure that adequate backup power would be available to residents and staff during any power outages.  Allendale also hosted a site visit from the York Region Long-Term Care team to see Halton’s Palliative Care Program in Services for Seniors in action.  In 2014, Allendale also continued to partner with the Mississauga Halton LHIN to provide Long-Term Care representation on the Hospice Palliative Care Steering Committee.

New video on intergenerational reading program

  • Halton Region’s Services for Seniors partnered with an organization called Dementability to make a video on an intergenerational reading program at Post Inn Village.

Inspections completed

  • Annual Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Compliance inspections have been completed at all three of Halton’s long-term care homes: Allendale, Creek Way Village and Post Inn Village with positive results.

Protecting Public Health

Public Health Inspectors reach 100 per cent inspection rate 

  • Halton Region’s public health inspectors reached a 100 per cent inspection rate for high-risk food premises for the second round of required inspections from May to August 2014, surpassing their goal of 95 per cent. To view inspection results from restaurants or food establishments, visit www.halton.ca/dinewise.

New health reports available showing local health data

  • Epidemiology staff in the Halton Region Health Department published 19 new health indicator reports in summer/fall of 2014 on a range of local health topics from immunization rates to tobacco use to oral health habits and more. These reports provide information on the health of Halton residents and allow the Region to track behaviour and trends over time.  For more information, please visit www.halton.ca/healthstats.

Public perception of the Social Determinants of Health

  • The Health Department released the 2013 Attitudes and Beliefs about the Social Determinants of Health Report, which examines public perception of the importance of different factors on physical and mental health, such as income, education and lifestyle choices. Findings suggest that raising awareness of the social determinants of health is a priority, which can lead to improving health equity for all Halton residents.

Paramedic honoured

  • Christine Barber, Halton Region Deputy Chief Logistics, Paramedic Services, was the 2014 recipient of the Richard J. Armstrong (RJA) Leadership Award which recognized her outstanding contributions to paramedic services. Barber accepted the award, which is presented annually, at the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs Annual Awards Gala, on September 25 at the London Convention Centre in London, Ontario.

Promoting Healthy Living

Local residents participated in the “Rethink Your Drink” – Mocktail Challenge

  • September 9, 2014, was International Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day (FASD) and the Halton FASD Collaborative sponsored the “Rethink your Drink” Mocktail Challenge, a friendly competition between bartenders from local restaurants for the best Mocktail (non-alcoholic beverage) as judged by pregnant mothers in attendance.

Picnic for mental health promotion well attended

  • On September 5, 2014, 75 North Halton residents and volunteers, along with North Halton Mental Health clinic staff, participated in the annual Dr. John Dougan Centre picnic for mental health promotion. The picnic provided a social opportunity for individuals with mental health needs.

Partnership with City of Burlington promotes smoke-free movies

  • Halton Region Health Department staff attended the City of Burlington’s Movies under the Stars last summer, speaking with 533 parents about the issue of smoking in the movies in an effort to reduce early uptake of smoking in youth.

Health Department hosted successful Workplace Health Networking Meeting

  • On November 13, 2014, the Halton Region Health Department hosted a Workplace Health Networking Meeting titled Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Over 60 workplace representatives attended the event to learn about what they can do to promote positive mental health and prevent harm in their workplaces. Keynote speakers included Sandra Koppert (Mental Health Commission of Canada), Addie Greco-Sanchez (AGS Rehab Solutions) and the Honourable Kevin Flynn, Oakville MPP, Minister of Labour.

As we begin a new year, we are working together with stakeholders and the Citizens’ Reference Panel to draft our priorities for the next four years.  I look forward to sharing our progress as we develop and implement the new Strategic Action Plan. Learn more at www.halton.ca/actionplan.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter@garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “the Carr Report.”