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Police warn public after pair of incidents involving kids in east Toronto

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Mar 9th, 2017

Police are warning the public after a pair of reported incidents involving children in east-end Toronto.

The first happened in the afternoon on February 10th, when police allege a man in a vehicle approached two nine-year-old boys in the Burrows Hall Boulevard and Purvis Crescent area and asked them to get into his car.

Police say the boys ran away and the vehicle drove off.

The second incident happened in the same neighbourhood Tuesday afternoon, when police allege a man in a vehicle approached two 10-year-old boys and a five-year-old girl.

Police say the children said no, but the man persisted and the children ran off.

They’re describing the suspect as between the ages of 35 and 45, with a “brown complexion” and reading glasses. He may have been wearing a Blue Jays shirt and a Blue Jays baseball cap in one of the incidents.

The vehicle is described as a charcoal or silver four-door sedan. In the second incident the vehicle was described as a small, silver, four-door vehicle.

Number of cyclists hit by car doors up more than 50 per cent: study

CityNews | posted Thursday, Mar 9th, 2017

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A new report from Cycle Toronto says the number of cyclists hit by car doors is up by 58 per cent in two years.

The data was provided to Cycle Toronto, an organization the promotes biking in the city, by Toronto Police.

“It’s an alarming statistic,” Coun. Mike Layton told 680 NEWS on Wednesday.

“Dooring is a very serious safety concern for cyclists and for drivers. It’s something that we don’t pay enough attention to.”

Layton, who has been “doored” himself, says more education is needed.

Mayor John Tory says he’s open to discuss changes to lane layouts and provincial legislation to address dooring concerns.

“There are improvements we can make to the configuration of the bike lanes to try and minimize this,” Tory said. “But the key to [minimizing] this issue will be public education.”

In the video below, a cyclist is doored as someone steps out of a truck.

In 2014, 132 cyclists were hit by a car door. In 2015, that number went up to 175. In 2016, it was 209.

Cycle Toronto is critical of the City of Toronto’s existing road safety plan, which does not include dooring collisions. In 2016, there were 1,279 collisions involving cyclists reported to police, including those who were doored.

Cycle Toronto said streets with bike lanes had lower rates of dooring collisions than streets without them. The dooring rates on streets with protected bike lanes, such as on Richmond and Adelaide streets, were even lower.

“We advise building [protected bike lanes] on Bloor Street West and Yonge Street as soon as possible,” Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto said in a statement.

“At the end of the day, people riding bicycles are just average Torontonians trying to get from A to B like everyone else. They shouldn’t have to risk lasting physical trauma or death to do so.”

The fine for dooring a cyclist was increased to $365 plus three demerit points in 2015. Before that, the fine could range from $60 to $500.

Longtime Toronto teacher killed in violent robbery in Costa Rica

CityNews | posted Thursday, Mar 9th, 2017

costa-rica

A Toronto teacher has been killed in what is believed to have been a violent robbery in Costa Rica.

Bruce McCallum, 58, who taught at Albert Campbell Collegiate in Scarborough, was found dead around 4:30 a.m. last Sunday in the southern Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, Limón. He had suffered multiple stab wounds.

McCallum had reportedly woken up early to take pictures of the sunrise when he was attacked. Local police say his camera was missing from his backpack when they found him.

Shari Schwartz-Maltz of the Toronto District School Board tells 680 News the loss is being felt by both co-workers and students.

“He was a very, very beloved teacher,” said Schwartz-Maltz. “I was blown away by some of the things that they said about what an incredible, out of the box teacher this was. They are all devastated.”

McCallum had been teaching for 20 years, 18 of them with the TDSB.

According to Albert Campbell principal Carol Richards-Sauer, McCallum had been on a scheduled leave of absence.

“In his 20 years as an educator, Mr. McCallum touched the lives of students and staff who had the pleasure of working with him,” she said in a letter sent to parents and students at the school. “He was a caring and dedicated member of our teaching team for 18 years. He was a positive role model in the Campbell community who had a passion for photography and travel. His energy and work ethic were an inspiration to us all. Bruce will be sorely missed.”

Richard-Sauer added a memorial service is being planned and will be announced once the arrangements are finalized.

“I really have no words, I’m speechless,” wrote former student Michelle Zhao in a Facebook post.

“Mr. McCallum was hands down one of my favourite teachers I’ve EVER had, he had an amazing personality and taught well. I’ll never forget the memories he gave me and the lessons he taught. He only wanted to do the one thing he loved over there but it was taken away from him, it’s so unfair. RIP Mr. McCallum you will be missed.”

Young family shocked by disturbing act of homophobia

CityNews | posted Thursday, Mar 9th, 2017

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What started out as a tasteless teen prank quickly took a darker turn for a gay couple and their young son in the east end.

A few Friday’s ago, Frank Nelson and BJ Barone thought they were answering the door for a dinner delivery. Instead, they found themselves facing five threatening teens.

“They started singing Jingle Bells,” Nelson told CityNews. “I didn’t really know what was going on, it sounded like he was being kind of rude in the song and then one of the kids screamed out ‘What do you think of LGBT’”

Nelson and Barone thought the tasteless song was the end of it but they could hear the teens still causing trouble on the street. Barone says when he went outside to further investigate, he saw the words ‘F*** LGBT’ written in the snow on their car.

When they saw that, the couple felt it was time to call police.

“The fact that they had the audacity to come up to our front door and talk to us face to face and do something like this. It’s a little concerning and it just makes us feel a little less safe,” said Barone.

An investigation led police to three of the teens. They were not charged but the three were marched back to the home for an apology.

Nelson and Barone say they are no strangers to homophobia. Three years ago, their touching photo of them and their newborn son went viral but was then misused by anti-gay rights groups.

They say they would have left the teens alone but the message left scrawled on the car simply hit too close to home.

“You can’t help but feel that some of what’s going on in our political climate right now are allowing people to be more racist and more rude,” said Nelson.

The apology wasn’t the only consequence for the teens. Their school was notified and one of t

Sam the Record Man sign coming back to downtown in 2017

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Mar 8th, 2017

File photo of the Sam The Record Man music store on Yonge Street. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Don Denton

The iconic Sam the Record Man sign is coming back to downtown Toronto later this year, Ryerson University said Wednesday.

The school has chosen a company, Sunset Neon, to install the ‘spinning’ records atop 277 Victoria St., just east of the previous location on Yonge Street near Dundas Street.

“We’re very thankful to the City of Toronto and the Sniderman family for their ongoing support and patience. We are all looking forward to the signs lighting up Toronto later this year,” Ryerson president and vice-chancellor Mohamed Lachemi said in a statement.

About a year ago, Ryerson said it was accepting bids to re-install the sign. The sign has been in storage since 2008. Last February, Ryerson said it was too early to estimate exactly when it will be installed. Now, the school said, it’s happening this year.

Ryerson has been responsible for preserving the sign and the university is paying all costs for the sign to go back up, including restoration and on-going maintenance.

‘Very, very pink’ tap water has residents in Alberta town in a tizzy

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 8th, 2017

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Residents in a small town northwest of Edmonton say bright pink water coming out of their taps was a bit of a shock.

Vicki Veldhuyzen Van Zanten of Onoway says she got a call from a neighbour asking if her water was pink.

It wasn’t, but a short time later her daughter called her from the bathroom to see purple water coming out of the taps.

It later turned a bright pink, and Veldhuyzen Van Zanten said she posted on a town Facebook page and found hundreds of others were experiencing the same thing.

Onoway Mayor Dale Krasnow posted a message Tuesday on the town’s official website saying the public is safe and was not at any risk.

The town was doing its weekly wash of filters at the water treatment plant using potassium permanganate, which turns water pink when used in large quantities, when it got into the water distribution system, he said.

“Please be advised that public works along with 2 representatives from Alberta Environment have completed their assessment of the potassium permanganate incident and preliminary indications point to a problem with the automations and/or valves at the Water Treatment Plant during the back washing of the filters,” Krasnow wrote.

“Further investigation will take place to determine the exact cause and repairs required.”

Krasnow said it wasn’t due to operator error.

The town drained its water reservoir and all lines have been flushed, but there may be some residual colour in some systems, the mayor said, adding property owners may need to run their water for a few minutes to clear their service lines.

“Could the town have done a better job of communicating what was going on yesterday to our community? Absolutely, without a doubt,” Krasnow said in the post.

“And we do apologize for that. This is a situation we can certainly learn from and develop a strategy for better response and communication should we ever face the same or similar situation in the future.”

Alberta Health Services says the pink water is safe to drink.

“Individuals with sensitive skin may wish to use an alternate source of water for bathing, at this time, due to small but potential risk for temporary skin irritation,” AHS spokeswoman Shannon Evans said in an email.

She said AHS continues to work with Alberta Environment and the town of Onoway.

Veldhuyzen Van Zanten said she wouldn’t drink the water, even if officials say it is safe. She said the water is clear coming out of her cold water taps, but not the hot water taps.

“It was weird. I just didn’t use it, I had leftovers, I put what we had in the microwave, I didn’t need water to make supper. But I’m sure other people had issues.

“It was very, very pink.”

Mumps fact sheet: 28 confirmed cases in Toronto

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Mar 8th, 2017

Toronto’s total number of confirmed mumps cases grew to 28 Tuesday, with two more cases from the Toronto District School Board testing positive for the virus.

The outbreak began last month and an investigation was launched after 14 people tested positive for the virus.

Most of those infected were 18 to 35 years old, and either lived or attended bars downtown. Initially, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said most people who contracted the virus from a bar attended businesses west of Yonge Street.

At least three cases of the confirmed cases are from the Toronto District School Board.

As more cases continue to be discovered, TPH  is educating people about how to prevent the condition from spreading.

Here’s a condensed fact sheet with everything you need to know:

Facts

  • Mumps is a virus that affects the salivary glands (sides of cheeks and jaw). You can only catch it once, just like the chicken pox.
  • It spreads from person to person through saliva and respiratory drops, including coughs and sneezes.
  • Common symptoms include: Swelling and pain in one or more salivary glands (sides of the cheeks and jaw), fever, headache, muscle aches and pains, fatigue and loss of appetite.
  • Symptoms appear 12 to 25 days after infection and can last up to 10 days.
  • Most youth in schools are protected — TPH says most school rates for mumps vaccinations sit above 90 per cent.
  • Anyone born between 1970 and 1992 should check if they’ve been previously vaccinated for mumps, because there’s a chance they’re not or have only received one dose. TPH recommends a booster dose
  • Most adults born before 1970 are likely immune to mumps because they’ve been exposed to or infected with the virus already.

 

Diagnosing yourself

  • Mumps is only confirmed with a blood test, a urine test and a swab of the throat or salivary gland. If you suspect any of the symptoms mentioned above, give your doctor a heads-up and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
  • If you don’t have a family doctor, head to ehealthontario.on.ca and click on the link for immunizations. Call the number and you’ll get the info you need over the phone.
  • TPH advises that anyone with symptoms to NOT attend daycare, school or work, should avoid participating in group activities, and having visitors for five days following any swelling. You should also avoid sharing food, drinks, cigarettes, water bottles, or kissing others.

Prevention

  • The only way to prevent contracting mumps is getting vaccinated prior to infection.
  • There are two vaccine options: MMR (For measles, mumps and rubella) or MMRV (For measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox)).
  • MMR is routinely given to children at 12 months. MMRV is routinely given between the ages of 4 and 6 years old, or before a child enters the school system.
  • Two doses of vaccine normally provide life-long immunity, with an 88 per cent effectiveness rate.

On International Women’s Day, advocates say ‘feminist’ PM has much work to do

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 8th, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who proudly calls himself a feminist, is marking International Women’s Day with much fanfare.

Trudeau will begin the day by joining International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in an announcement related to the rights of women.

He will also watch as 338 young women — one for every riding in the country — take seats in the House of Commons as part of Daughters of the Vote, a program aimed at encouraging their involvement in leadership, government and politics.

Trudeau has promised to promote gender equality and home and abroad, but advocates for the rights of women and girls say he still has a lot of work to do.

They are calling for more subsidized child care spaces, a national strategy to end gender-based violence and a new law to ensure men and women get equal pay for work of equal value.

The Liberal government has promised to bring in proactive pay equity legislation next year.

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