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No fare hike in TTC’s proposed 2018 operating budget

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Nov 15th, 2017


Welcome news for TTC riders. The transit body released its proposed 2018 operating budget Tuesday and it does not include a fare hike.

The TTC had increased cash fares every year for six consecutive years.

The TTC’s budget committee, which meets on Friday, will be looking for an additional $37-million subsidy on top of the more than half billion dollars it already receives from the city.

The TTC says the $37-million is actually less than the original $86-million request which was considered during the start of the budget process.

The TTC says the subsidy increase will enable them to maintain current service levels even without a fare increase. But don’t expect more buses on the roads, in fact, in some areas you can expect less as the Toronto York Spadina Subway extension starts to replace those routes once it begins operating in December.

Bombardier’s delay in delivering the Light Rail vehicles also means the TTC is saving cash on some jobs it can’t fill until the vehicles get there.

The TTC’s budget is $1.8-billion but its a budget that has a lot of optimism.

There’s $4-million budgeted for paid emergency days, a proposed measure from the Liberals that would give employees two paid days for personal crisis. However, that estimate is based on how many employees took unpaid days last year – a number that is likely to climb when they’ll be able to afford to take the time off.

The budget also hasn’t factored in any of the other proposed changes such as extended paternal leave and increased vacation times after years of service, changes that will increase labour costs.

The budget is also banking on passengers making the move to PRESTO slowly. So far, only 12 per cent of riders have made the switch. Every two per cent costs an additional $1.1-million in transitional costs so a sudden spike to 50 per cent would cost the TTC at least $20-million.

The budget also assumes Bombardier will deliver enough Light Rail vehicles to cover several routes completely. If that doesn’t happen, then costs will climb.

Former Blue Jay Roy Halladay killed in Gulf of Mexico plane crash

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017


Former Toronto Blue Jays star pitcher Roy Halladay has died after his plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40.

The sheriff’s department in Pasco County, Fla., confirmed Halladay’s body was found at the scene of the crash.

Halladay won the Cy Young Award twice, first with the Blue Jays in 2003 and again in 2010 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

He threw the the 20th perfect game in MLB history on May 29, 2010.

More coming

Lawyers for Toronto actress suing Weinstein say they can’t find him

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein participates in a panel at the A&E 2016 Winter TCA in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

A lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein alleging the Hollywood mogul sexually assaulted a Toronto actress nearly two decades ago is being allowed to proceed even though lawyers have not been able to track him down.

The woman’s proposed statement of claim says she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein twice, while she had a part in a movie being filmed in and around Toronto. The claim also said she reported the alleged assaults to Toronto police on Oct. 23.

The actress, only known as Jane Doe, is seeking $14 million in damages, claiming she has suffered mental distress, extreme social anxiety and depression, as well as social isolation and feelings of guilt, worthlessness and shame as a result of what happened.

The document also names Miramax – the production company Weinstein and his brother co-chaired – as well as parent company Walt Disney Co. and Weinstein’s assistant. Miramax and Disney have been served notice of the action.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and no statements of defence have been filed.

On Monday, a hearing was held in a Toronto court, where the woman’s lawyers sought to move ahead with the claim without using her name.

One of the woman’s lawyers, Alexander Smith of the law firm Henein Hutchison, said the legal team has done everything to serve Weinstein and his assistant.

Smith said they tried and failed to serve Weinstein at his home in Westport, Conn., and believe he could also be in Phoenix, Ariz., or somewhere in Europe. They also repeatedly tried to serve Weinstein’s former assistant at her office and through her lawyer but have not succeeded so far.

Smith said Weinstein is aware of the claim against him, but since the plaintiff’s lawyers were not able to serve him, it left the woman with the following options: proceed with her real name, drop the case or be delayed in getting therapy.

Smith said the woman will proceed with seeing a therapist in order gather evidence of harm for the lawsuit against Weinstein.

The judge has allowed the woman to go ahead with the claim because her lawyers have tried everything to serve him.

The judge also said the legal team has to keep trying to serve him, but granted a substitutional service order, which allows the woman to move forward with the case – even if they can’t find or he is avoiding being served.

A substitutional service occurs if a party appears to be avoiding being served court documents, then a request may be made to mail it to known address.

The case will return to court on Dec. 1.



Man stabbed multiple times near Moss Park

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Oct 31st, 2017


A man has been rushed to hospital in serious condition after a stabbing near Moss Park.

Emergency crews were called to Sherbourne Street near Shuter Street around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to police, a confrontation began between the victim and the suspect at a bus stop, which ended in a stabbing.

The injured victim was found a short distance away.

Police said a man, believed to be in his 30s, was stabbed once in the chest and twice in the leg.

The suspect fled the area before authorities arrived on scene. No description has been released.

A knife was recovered by police.

Sherbourne has been closed in both directions from Dundas to Shuter streets.


RIP Gord Downie: Send your condolences

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Oct 18th, 2017


All across Canada people are mourning the passing of Canadian icon Gord Downie.

Send your thoughts, love and condolences below:

Hurricane Maria lashes Dominica, now menaces other islands

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Sep 19th, 2017

This Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, GOES East satellite image provided by NASA taken at 20:30 UTC, shows the eye of Hurricane Maria as it nears Dominica. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday evening that Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter planes found that Maria had strengthened into a storm with 160 mph (260 kph) winds. (NASA via AP)

Hurricane Maria pounded the small island of Dominica with catastrophic winds overnight, starting a charge into the eastern Caribbean that threatens islands already devastated by Hurricane Irma and holds the possibility of a direct hit on Puerto Rico.

Fierce winds and rain lashed mountainous Dominica for hours as Maria caused flooding and tore roofs from homes as an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm. A police official on the island, Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said overnight that there were no immediate reports of casualties but it was too dangerous for officers to do a full assessment as the storm raged outside.

“Where we are, we can’t move,” he said in a brief phone interview while hunkered down against the region’s second Category 5 hurricane this month.

Maria weakened slightly — and briefly — early Tuesday to a still major Category 4 storm after pounding the small Caribbean island nation. But the fluctuation in intensity proved to be short-lived as a hurricane hunter plane reported the hurricane had regained a fearsome Category 5 status within hours of passing over Dominica.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit earlier captured the fury of Maria as it made landfall. “The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of increasingly harrowing posts on Facebook.

A few minutes later, he messaged he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofs tearing off houses on the small rugged island.

He then wrote that he thought his home had been damaged. And three words: “Rough! Rough! Rough!”

A half hour later, he said: “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.” Seven minutes later he posted that he had been rescued.

Officials in Guadeloupe said the French island near Dominica probably would experience heavy flooding and warned that many communities could be submerged. In nearby Martinique, authorities ordered people to remain indoors and said they should be prepared for power cuts and disruption in the water supply.

Authorities in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico warned that people in wooden or flimsy homes should find safe shelter before the storm’s expected arrival there on Wednesday.

“You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”

Maria had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (260 kph) late Monday as it slammed into Dominica, its eye passing over the island before conditions began easing. Early Tuesday, a hurricane hunter plane found top winds had slightly weakened though Maria remained a still extremely dangerous Category 4 major storm.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria’s top sustained winds were clocked at 155 mph (250 kph) at 2 a.m. and that the eye of Maria was about 45 miles (70 kilometers) west-northwest of Dominica. The storm was moving west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

Before the latest fluctuation in intensity, forecasters had warned Maria would likely intensify over the next 24 hours or longer, noting its eye had shrunk to a compact 10 miles across and warning: “Maria is developing the dreaded pinhole eye.”

That generally means an extremely strong hurricane will get even mightier, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami. He said it just like when a spinning ice skater brings in their arms and rotates faster.

“You just don’t see those in weaker hurricanes,” he said.

The storm’s hurricane-force winds extended out about 35 miles (45 kilometers) and tropical storm-force winds out as far as 125 miles (205 kilometers).

Hurricane warnings were posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. A tropical storm warning was issued for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Anguilla.

Forecasters said storm surge could raise water levels by 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 meters) near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.

The current forecast track would carry it about 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands late Tuesday and early Wednesday, territorial Gov. Kenneth Mapp said.

“We are going to have a very, very long night,” Mapp said as he urged people in the territory to finish any preparations.

St. Thomas and St. John are still stunned from a direct hit by Hurricane Irma, which did extensive damage and caused four deaths on the two islands.

Barry University said it chartered a private plane to carry students and staff from its St. Croix facility to Florida in preparation for Maria. It said 72 people connected to the Barry’s Physician Assistant Program and a few pets were on Monday’s evacuation flight.

In neighboring Puerto Rico, nearly 70,000 people were still without power following their earlier brush with Irma and nearly 200 remained in shelters as Maria approached.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Puerto Rico had 500 shelters capable of taking in up to 133,000 people in a worst-case scenario. He also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ready to bring drinking water and help restore power immediately after the storm, which could hit as a Category 5 hurricane.

“That is catastrophic in every way,” said Roberto Garcia with the National Weather Service in San Juan. “People have to act, and they have to act now. They can no longer wait for a miracle.”

To the north, Hurricane Jose stirred up dangerous surf and rip currents along the U.S. East Coast, though forecasters said the storm was unlikely to make landfall. Big waves caused by the storm swept five people off a coastal jetty in Rhode Island and they were hospitalized after being rescued.

A tropical storm warning was posted for coastal areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and tropical storm watches were up for parts of New York’s Long Island and Connecticut. Jose’s center was about 395 miles (635 kilometers) south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, early Tuesday and moving north at 8 mph (13 kph). The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Miami, Seth Borenstein in Washington and Carlisle Jno Baptiste in Roseau Dominica contributed to this report.

Send your farewell wishes to Russ!

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Sep 6th, 2017


After a 50-year journey with Rogers, our traffic specialist Russ Holden will sign off one last time Wednesday morning on Breakfast Television as he heads off to a well-deserved retirement.

Send your well wishes and messages below:

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