School staff shortage, grenade in the mail, UW quarterback: Top stories of the week

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Waterloo Region schools face staffing shortages due to COVID-19

Waterloo Region teachers’ unions are concerned about the increase in COVID-19 cases in the community, as it leads to staff absences. OECTA Waterloo President Patrick Etmanski said March was a record month with a large number of staff absences. He said when so many staff are away, there aren’t enough substitute teachers to fill those roles.

“In some cases, we’ve seen 13 employees leave in one day,” he told CTV News. “It’s impossible to cover. So children are not served. Special [education] kids aren’t getting the EA support they need, and we have classrooms that don’t have a teacher.”

Amy Brillinger Tuka is a kindergarten teacher at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Kitchener. She said staff face tough decisions daily when they develop symptoms.

“We sometimes now choose to come to work feeling bad and showing some of the symptoms.”

A grenade found in a postal parcel is considered an old war souvenir

The Waterloo Regional Police Service is investigating after a grenade, which turned out to be an old war memorabilia, was found in a postal parcel on Wednesday.

They say a person picked up the package from a community mailbox at Victoria Street South and Westforest Trail in Kitchener, but did not open it until it arrived at a The Boardwalk shopping center in Waterloo just before 10 p.m.

After finding the grenade, they immediately called the police. The area was secured and members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team were called in to investigate.

‘I finally felt seen’: New film tells story of wife’s efforts to clear Steven Truscott’s name

The story of the fight to clear Steven Truscott’s name is now being told on the big screen – but from a different perspective. The film “Marlene” focuses on his wife’s efforts to find the errors and evidence that ultimately led to his acquittal, nearly 50 years after his murder conviction.

“It’s exciting for my mom to be recognized for the work she’s done because it’s truly amazing,” said Ryan Truscott, the couple’s son.

In June 1959, 12-year-old Lynne Harper disappeared in Clinton, Ontario. Her body was found on a farm, along with evidence that she had been raped and strangled. Within days, Steven Truscott, then 14, was arrested and charged with her murder.

Steven and Marlene Truscott.

Brantford family calls for increased youth mental health services after loss of 12-year-old daughter

The family of 12-year-old Grace McSweeney say she died on March 28 after a long battle with depression. Feeling that the system has let them down, they are now calling for more mental health resources for young people.

Sitting inside a Brantford funeral home hours before a memorial service, Lauren Smith described her daughters as having “a heart of gold” and “always thinking of others”.

“She loves anime and music,” Smith said, adding that she was always very loving and sweet.

Smith and her family are sharing their story because they don’t want another child to go through what Grace went through. They are pushing for more mental health resources for children 12 and under.

“Parents are not advisers, no matter how close you are. No matter what,” Smith said.

The family say they tried to get constant professional help for Grace, but struggled to find sufficient resources for her age, and without having to pay too high a price.

Grace McSweeney, 12, is seen in a photo provided by her family.

‘Greatest player I’ve ever been around’: UW quarterback sparks NFL interest

Four months after being named U Sports’ Most Outstanding Football Player, University of Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford is looking to turn his final season with the Warriors into a shot at the National Football League. The Niagara Falls native is the first player in school history to win the Hec Crighton Trophy, with a skill set strong enough to attract the interest of professional teams in Canada and the United States.

“I’m just obviously looking to get a shot in the NFL and a shot in the [Canadian Football League] to play quarterback,” Ford told CTV News.

In three full seasons as the Warriors starting quarterback, the 24-year-old became the program’s all-time leader in passing yards (7,118) and passing touchdowns (56), on his way to earning U Sports Rookie of the Year honors, two OUA Most Valuable Player awards and an All-Canadian selection.

“I think the first team to call was the [New York Giants]“recalls Ford. “Four or five [NFL] the teams called I think before the season, after the season some more, then after the pro day, it all kind of exploded.

Tre Ford becomes the first person in Warriors football program history to receive the Hec Crighton Trophy for U SPORTS Most Outstanding Player. (Source: @WlooWarriors/Twitter)

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