Union chief urges improved mental health support for pupils

Carole Thorpe called for enhanced investment in education as the sector recovers from coronavirus.

EIS president Carole Thorpe said many pupils struggled over the past year when schools were closed. PA Ready via PA Media
EIS president Carole Thorpe said many pupils struggled over the past year when schools were closed.

The outgoing president of Scotland’s largest teaching union has used her final speech in the role to call for more mental health support for pupils.

Speaking at the Educational Institute of Scotland’s (EIS) annual general meeting, Carole Thorpe called for enhanced investment in education as the sector recovers from coronavirus.

The education secretary is due to address EIS members at the virtual AGM on Friday.

Speaking to the AGM on Thursday, Ms Thorpe said: “Dealing with the issues left in the wake of the pandemic will require partnership going forward.

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“The government must work with teachers and lecturers because we are the ones best placed to understand our pupils and what their needs are, both educational needs and their health and wellbeing needs, including mental health.

“It is vital that sufficient funding is provided to give us the resources to do this.

“There has been, and will continue to be, a huge increase in the need for mental health support due to the pandemic.

“During this last year so many of our young people have missed out on social contact, have experienced grief and loss, have lived with stressed parents, have been subjected to domestic abuse, hunger, and so many other issues.

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“For so many of our young people, school is the stable, dependable part of their existence and they have struggled without it.

“Cracks in our society will be irreparable if we do not act now.

“Money must be made available to support education – pupils affected by the pandemic are the future of our country and we cannot afford to fail them.”

‘Scotland is ready to play its part for a successful COP26’

The COP26 UN climate change conference runs from October 31 to November 12.

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The Scottish Government has announced details of its COP26 programme.

Scotland is ready to play its part in delivering success at COP26, energy secretary Michael Matheson has said.

The Scottish Government has announced details of its COP26 programme, as Matheson said this must be the moment that the world “moves from promises to action”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make two keynote addresses this week, setting out the Scottish Government’s ambitions for COP26 on Monday before opening the UN’s Conference of Youth on Thursday.

The COP26 UN climate change conference runs from October 31 to November 12 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

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The Scottish Government will co-host the Multi-level Action Pavilion in the official Cop Blue Zone to showcase the vital role of states and regions in the international response to the climate crisis.

The pavilion will be opened on November 1 and Scotland will also play a prominent role in the Peatland, Nordic and Cryosphere Pavilions in the Blue Zone.

Matheson said: “Scotland is ready to play its part in delivering success at what will be one of the most important global gatherings of the 21st century.

“This must be the moment that the world moves from promises to action. For COP26 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, governments at all levels, businesses, civil society and communities need to work together to agree ambitious actions and the finance and resources needed to deliver them.

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“Scottish Ministers will participate in events and discussions throughout Cop and we will use our position as co-chair of the Under 2 Coalition to help deliver that ambition, and to demonstrate that global climate action requires ambitious action by governments at all levels.

“This is also a unique opportunity to showcase Scotland to the world – including what our businesses and communities are doing to meet our world-leading climate targets.”

Sturgeon will take part in formal presidency events that will profile the action and ambitions of women, young people and states, and will join the UN High Level Champions to promote the role that can be played by governments at all levels in tackling climate change.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have also joined forces to create Scotland’s Climate Ambition Zone, at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, to showcase the best of Scotland’s innovative low-carbon businesses.

The initiative is described as a “shop window of the best of Scotland’s climate action”, with more than 60 in-person or hybrid events.

More on:

‘We can restore our damaged peatlands – but we’ll need help’

Efforts are under way across Scotland to repair eroded peatlands in a bid to help fight climate change.

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Peatland experts believe ambitious targets to restore damaged landscapes can be met – but only if more specialist contractors are hired.

The Scottish Government has pledged to spend £250m restoring peatlands over the next ten years to help fight climate change.

Peatlands filter much of the water we drink, provide habitats for wildlife and draw in more carbon from the environment than forests.

When they are eroded and burned to be used as fuel and compost, they emit more carbon than they store, and experts believe 80% of Scotland’s peatland is damaged.

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‘Pathway to recovery’

Diggers are being used to smooth and recover peat at the Cairngorms National Park in a bid to restore them to their natural state.

Stephen Corcoran, peatlands programme manager at the park, which features some of the highest peatlands in the UK, said: “It’s a pathway to recovery, but the process does take a while.

“We’ll need more skilled contractors to help us with this project going forward because it is a massive area that needs to be restored.”

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The Scottish Government has pledged to spend £250m restoring peatlands over the next ten years.
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Meanwhile, peatland action project officer Sue White is working to restore damaged landscape in Shetland.

Peatland that should be naturally covered in protective vegetation has been exposed and is emitting carbon.

“This sort of landscape is losing somewhere around 23.8 tonnes of carbon equivalent every year and we’ve got 40,000 hectares of it in Shetland,” she said.

“That alone is putting a huge amount of CO2 into the air, but we can turn it around quite simply.

“This funding is a good start. Going forward it is going to need private investment, but investors are very interested because you can sell carbon.”

The Scottish Government said it hopes the funding will help to restore 200,000 hectares of peatland by 2030.


Firms under ‘enormous pressure’ from rising energy prices

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has written to the UK Government on the issue.

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There are calls to introduce a small and medium enterprise (SME) energy price cap.

Rising energy costs are putting Scottish firms under “enormous pressure” and could lead to closures and job losses, business leaders have warned as they called for more UK Government support.

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), said that many businesses are still operating in “survival mode” amid Brexit and the pandemic and are finding it impossible to keep pace with energy price rises.

Ahead of the UK Government autumn Budget, she has written to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, calling for the introduction of a small and medium enterprise (SME) energy price cap to protect Scottish businesses from the increasing price of gas and electricity ahead of the winter months.

The SCC has asked the UK Government to look carefully at this option as quickly as possible.

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Dr Cameron said: “In the past few weeks, the UK has reached a crisis point over gas and electricity prices, and businesses are feeling the consequences.

“Many businesses in Scotland are still operating in survival mode and continue to recover from the dual challenges of the UK’s departure from the EU and the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s impossible for firms to keep pace with these exorbitant rises in energy prices and these cost pressures are putting many businesses under enormous pressure and resulting in these rising cost pressures increasingly being passed on to the consumer.

“The UK Government needs to support business recovery over the winter months and SCC believes there is now a clear case to create an SME energy price cap, including for microbusinesses, to protect smaller firms from some of these price increases which they would otherwise face.”

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In her letter to Sunak, Dr Cameron said it is “essential” that the upcoming UK Budget focuses on economic recovery and recognises the “energy price crisis” that Scotland’s businesses are facing.

She said: “Scottish businesses urgently require support to mitigate these rising costs that threaten recovery and could lead to the permanent closure of businesses and the loss of jobs across Scotland.”

One Scottish hotel group, the Caithness Collection, which operates across the north Highlands, has reported a potential rise of £53,170 per year in electricity costs as it moves to a new contract, the equivalent to a 70% increase on its current yearly bill.

Andrew Mackay, owner of the Caithness Collection hotel group, said: “The hospitality sector was one of the hardest hit throughout the pandemic and recovery is already proving challenging, with difficulties finding and retaining staff, increased wage demands, other supply chain issues and tax increases.

“Rising energy costs are creating huge burdens and challenges for the business and it’s vital that Scotland’s businesses are afforded some buffer to guard against energy prices that are hitting them hard.”

The SCC network comprises 12,000 member businesses and a network of 30 local chambers of commerce.

The UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been asked for comment.

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A UK Treasury spokesman said: “The Budget and Spending Review next week will set out how we will continue to invest in public services, businesses and jobs while keeping the public finances on a sustainable footing.”


In pictures: When Clydebank reached the Scottish Cup semi-finals

Clydebank took on Celtic at Hampden in the 1989/90 Scottish Cup semi-finals.

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Sean Sweeney can't believe he hasn't scored for Clydebank after leaving Celtic keeper Pat Bonner on his knees.

Clydebank are back in the Scottish Cup for the first time in 20 years – and will take on Elgin City in a televised second-round clash on Monday.

It’s been a rollercoaster couple of decades for the former league stalwarts, whose name was controversially wiped off the football map following a takeover by Airdrie United, before they rose from the ashes as a junior outfit.

Now plying their trade in the West of Scotland Premier League, they’ve earned a spot on the road to Hampden, the venue for their 1989/90 season semi-final against Celtic.

Although they lost 2-0, they gave Billy McNeill’s side plenty of scares on a memorable afternoon for the Bankies, who were once sponsored by chart-toppers Wet Wet Wet.

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In pictures, here’s a look back at the time Clydebank reached the last four of the Scottish Cup, their best ever run in the competition.

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Andy Walker gets the better of Jim Gallagher to open the scoring for Celtic.
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Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner pushes a shot from Clydebank’s John Davies round the post.
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Clydebank’s Paul Harvey and Celtic midfielder Steve Fulton battle for possession.
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Sean Sweeney thinks he’s scored for Clydebank, but his effort drifts wide.
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Clydebank goalkeeper Jim Gallagher.
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Clydebank’s Sean Sweeney chases Celtic striker Dariusz Dziekanowski.

New schemes to ‘back innovative businesses and woo foreign talent’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out plans which would funnel money into key sectors.

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The Global Britain Investment Fund will hand out grants.

Innovative UK businesses are set to benefit from a £1.4bn investment fund to be announced in next week’s Budget.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out plans which would funnel money into key sectors and a new talent network to woo foreign talent into UK industries.

The Global Britain Investment Fund will hand out grants to encourage internationally mobile companies to invest in the UK’s critical industries, including life sciences and automotive.

The Treasury said companies with “strategically important investment proposals” would be able to get grants towards their schemes through the fund.

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The fund includes £354m to support investment in life sciences manufacturing, increasing resilience for future pandemics, and more than £800m investment in the production and supply chain of electric vehicles including in the North East and Midlands.

Sunak is also expected to announce the extension of the recovery loan scheme for a further six months until June 30 2022, and £312m for the British Business Bank’s start-up loans programme to provide 33,000 loans to entrepreneurs across the UK looking to start or grow their business.

A new talent network will also be set up in innovation hotspots, first in the Bay Area of San Francisco and Boston in the US in 2022, and also Bengaluru in India.

By 2023 the programme will expand to six countries and will target universities, research institutions and innovation hubs to attract the best foreign talent to the UK’s science and tech sectors.

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The Chancellor said: “We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start, grow and invest in a business, as we continue to support enterprise, create jobs, and level up as we recover from the pandemic and look to the future.

“As we forge the UK’s future as a global scientific and technology superpower, we will ensure the UK continues to be the destination of choice for international talent.”

A team will offer support to workers moving to the UK by providing tailored advice and linking them to UK-based opportunities.

The Chancellor is also expected to confirm the Government’s intention to make it easier for companies to relocate to the UK through a new redomiciliation regime similar to those available in Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and a number of US states, strengthening the UK’s position as a global business hub and an open, competitive, free-market economy.

It is hoped this will allow companies to take advantage of the UK’s world-class infrastructure and skills, while promoting jobs, innovation and investment in the UK.

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said to recover from coronavirus, businesses need to get investing, and therefore welcomed the scheme.

She said: “This scheme hits the spot when it comes to some of our most innovative industries in the UK.

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“Businesses will be hopeful that there will be more to come from the Chancellor next week to help get firms investing.

“The UK has always been an attractive location for top talent. With labour shortages biting in sectors from the lower-skilled to the high, this new network could prove a useful tool in some of our most exciting, higher-skilled industries alongside much-needed funds to spur global investment into the UK.”


Rally held in George Square to highlight Glasgow ‘waste crisis’

A day of action was held on Saturday.

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There are calls for the recruitment of 100 new road sweepers and 100 new refuse collectors.

Bags of rubbish have been dumped outside of Glasgow City Council as part of a day of action calling for more investment to tackle the city’s “waste crisis”.

Campaigners from the GMB Union and Living Rent held a rally in George Square on Saturday.

They have called for the recruitment of 100 new road sweepers and 100 new refuse collectors, as well as the reduction of agency staff to less than 5%.

They are also calling for an end to the bulk uplift charge and the re-introduction of back court teams.

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The rubbish dumped in George Square was collected by action teams from different streets and backcourts in Govanhill, Govan, Partick and Dennistoun, as evidence of what they say is the council’s “neglect”.

People gather in George Square as part of the rally. (STV News)

Living Rent Dennistoun branch Chair Caroline Robertson insisted that cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.

She said: “As COP26 approaches and the eyes of the world are on Glasgow, communities in the east end need to make GCC clean up its act and invest in more clenny workers to keep our streets clean.

“GCC ‘sprucing up’ Glasgow and passing responsibility for street cleaning onto communities to impress tourist heads of state is utterly insulting.”

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Robertson added: “Clenny workers have been essential before the pandemic, during and will continue to be. They’re fighting an uphill battle to keep streets clean.

“Cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.

“This isn’t just Glasgow City Council’s problem. If the money isn’t there, then the Scottish Government needs to ensure it is. Glasgow’s MSPs can’t be allowed to pass the buck.”


Where can I go as Glasgow roads start closing for COP26?

Everything you need to know about travelling around Glasgow during the UN climate conference.

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Parts of Glasgow will start locking down on Saturday ahead of the COP26 United Nations climate conference.

The summit is being held at the Scottish Event Campus on the banks of the River Clyde from October 31 to November 12.

But residents and commuters are being warned to expect delays across the city from this weekend.

So, where are you allowed to go as COP26 takes over Glasgow?

Road closures

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The scale of the event in Glasgow is unprecedented and the council has warned people that roads will be “extremely busy”.

The city’s motorway network – including the M8, M77 and M74 – are all at risk of major congestion.

And the Clydeside Expressway, which normally sees around 100,000 vehicles each day, will be closed between Partick and Anderston from October 23 to November 15.

Official alternative routes involve drivers using some of the busiest roads in the city by going through the Clyde Tunnel, parallel to the Expressway on Dumbarton Road and Argyle Street, or Great Western Road, through Charing Cross.

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Stobcross Road, which runs between the Expressway and the SEC, has already been closed due to works, and will not open again until November 21.

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Red shows areas at risk of congestion with roads expected to be significantly busier than usual on the first day of the conference.

Pressure is expected to be diverted on to the A739 Clyde Tunnel, which runs north to south under the river, as well as Paisley Road West, Great Western Road and Dumbarton Road.

The disruption from COP26 comes on top of traffic chaos already being caused by the ongoing repairs to the M8 Woodside Viaduct north of the city centre.

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Alternate routes for the COP26 road closures from October 23 until November 15.

COP26 road closures in full

  • Congress Road, closed from 6am, October 10, until 6am, November 17.
  • Congress Way, Finnieston Quay, Tunnel Street, Stobcross Road (section parallel to A814) and Castlebank Street, subject to lane restrictions and closures between October 17 and 23, with full closure from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 21.
  • Clyde Arc (Squinty Bridge) and Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 23 until 6am on November 15. The roads will be open to service buses only.
  • Finnieston Street, from Houldsworth Street to Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 15. Local Access southbound will be maintained until October 28.
  • Clydeside Expressway, from Partick Interchange to Anderston (Junction 19), closed from 9pm on October 23, until 6am on November 15.
  • Minerva Street and West Greenhill Place, closed from 6am on October 28, until 6am on November 13, with local access to private carparks maintained.
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COP26 Road Closures: SEC and Finnieston
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COP26 Road Closures: Partick and Transport Museum
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COP26 Road Closures: Anderston and M8

Can I still ride my bike?

Cycling is encouraged during the summit, but pedestrian and cycle routes around the SEC will be affected, with campaigners arguing that the closures go against the ethos of the conference.

Glasgow City Council has suspended public access around the venue – the site covering Finnieston and Pacific Quay, Millennium and Bells bridges and a number of paths will be out of bounds from October 21 to November 19.

Access will banned from the following routes:

  • C93E (Millennium Bridge)
  • C93F (Bells Bridge)
  • Part of C93 (Clyde Walkway (North) between Beith Way and Finnieston Street)
  • Part of C93A (between Finnieston Quay and Minerva Street)
  • C93C (between the Riverside Museum and Stobcross Road)
  • Part of C109 (Clyde Walkway (South) at Pacific Quay)
  • Part of C54A (Expressway Overbridge at Anderston)
  • Part of C54B (M8 Overbridge at Anderston)
  • River Kelvin ‘Core Path on Water’ at Kelvin Harbour

Will public transport be running?

The conference will be disrupted by rail strikes after members of the RMT union backed industrial action.

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ScotRail workers will strike from November 1 to 12 amid a dispute over pay and conditions.

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RMT members on the Caledonian Sleeper service, which is run by Serco, will also strike from October 31 to November 2 and from November 11 to 13.

Sunday train services in Scotland have been crippled for months as workers protest over pay and conditions.

Are tourist attractions open?

Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s culture and leisure venues, is closing six sites to “minimise disruption” during COP26.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Transport Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art will be closed throughout the conference.

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum


Kelvin Hall will also be closed from October 28 to November 1 and Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls and Tennis Centre will also be shut from October 31 to November 2.


People urged to stay away from A&E unless condition ‘life-threatening’

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has made the call as health boards across the country face continued pressure due to Covid.

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NHSGGC: The health board is urging people to stay away from A&E unless their condition is 'life-threatening'.

A top doctor at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is urging people to stay away from A&E unless their “condition is life-threatening”.

The call comes as the Covid pandemic continues to put NHS boards across the country under massive pressure.

Earlier this week, NHS Lanarkshire moved to its highest risk level – dubbed ‘code black’ – which has seen the health board postpone scheduled hospital treatments, including some cancer procedures.

NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Borders and NHS Grampian recently requested help from the armed forces. Soldiers are also providing support to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

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On Saturday, NHSGGC said that over a seven-day period, 32% of the people who attended Queen Elizabeth University Hospital’s emergency department did so with “minor injuries and issues” including sprained ankles, lower back pain, cut fingers and bruising.

Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for NHSGGC, said: “We want to thank all of our staff for their continuing commitment to our patients, their families and their colleagues during this unprecedented time.

“Unfortunately, our emergency departments are still seeing people who do not need to be there, with minor ailments such as dental pain, urinary tract infections, sore throats of less than one day, period pain, cuts and scrapes.

“Attending A&E with these minor conditions not only adds to the pressure facing our staff but also impacts on waiting times.

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“We would urge everyone that, unless their condition is life-threatening, they should not attend an emergency department.”

Those in any doubt over who they should contact are being urged to call NHS 24 on 111.

Dr Davidson added: “If necessary you will be given an onward referral to our Flow Navigation Centre Team, who will call you back and undertake a virtual consultation.

“This can be undertaken in your own home and may mean the condition can be treated without you leaving home.

“Should you need to attend an emergency department, the team will instruct you to do so.

“Our partner GP surgeries across the board area are open, and the GP out-of-hours service for urgent problems, over the weekend, can also be accessed by calling 111.

“Pharmacies also have expert knowledge and can advise on minor ailments, or give simple healthcare advice.

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“I would like to thank members of the public who have continued to use 111 to access the correct care for their support and understanding during what continues to be a challenging time for everyone.”

Firefighters called to reports of tenement blaze

The alarm was raised at around 7.30pm.

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There were no reports of any injuries.

Firefighters have been called to reports of a blaze in the west end of Glasgow.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said three fire engines and a high reach appliance went to the scene on Byres Road when the alarm was raised at around 7.30pm on Saturday.

Firefighters could be seen in flats on the first to third floors of the tenement building where they appeared to be opening windows.

An ambulance was also at the scene of the incident, which was at the junction with Havelock Street.

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There were no reports of any injuries.


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