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Who owns your Twitter account when it comes to your employment?

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 6th, 2017

A popular Toronto Parking Enforcement Officer is currently the talk of twitter, after his account was suspended following his employers claims there were concerns about his posts.

Kyle Ashley is described as a passionate and outspoken bike cop, who isn’t too shy to call out violators parked in bike lanes on Twitter. However, since Friday, his account @TPS_ParkingPal is no longer active on the social media site, and many, including city councillors took notice.

“As one Councillor voice, I so appreciated Kyle’s tweets. He is exactly what enforcement needs,” Councillor Joe Mihevc tweeted.

Cycle Toronto, a bike advocacy group, tweeted Toronto Police and John Tory asking why the account was removed.

Ashley tells CityNews he’s the one who decided to suspend his account, after he says Toronto Police showed up at his door demanding his twitter credentials.

“I chose to deactivate it at that point,” he said. “I received no advisement on what the tweets were of concern. Other than brief allusion to interactions with people in Montreal.”

He adds as of now, he is expected at work on Monday.

The Toronto Police Service did not tell CityNews which posts were deemed ‘concerning’.

“While he has done some excellent work highlighting bike lanes, there have been some ongoing concerns about some of the postings on his account. Those concerns have escalated,” said Mark Pugash, Director of Corporate Communications with TPS. “We felt the most appropriate thing to do was to suspend, temporarily, his Twitter account while we look into those concerns.”

CityNews reached out to Twitter Canada and a spokesperson said social media policies are defined by individual employees. Though the site advises users to post content they are comfortable sharing with others, as it is their sole responsibility.

“Any use or reliance on any Content or materials posted via the Services or obtained by you through the Services is at your own risk,” reads Twitter’s Terms of Service. “We do not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the completeness, truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any Content or communications posted via the Services or endorse any opinions expressed via the Services.”

However, there are instances where the site may disclose personal information, if it believes “it is reasonably necessary to comply with a law, regulation, legal process, or governmental request.” The site states non-personal information that can be disclosed include things like the number of tweet engagements, how many users click on particular links or voted on polls, or trending topics.

“Obtaining non-public information, such as an email address used to sign-up for an account or IP login information, requires valid legal process like subpoena, court order, or other local legal process, depending on the country that issues the request,” Twitter Canada says.

There are also non-public requests, like direct messages, that may delve deeper and require a search warrants. Twitter Canada says it doesn’t always provide information when it receives legal requests.

“Twitter may seek to narrow requests that are overly broad, request additional context if the nature of the investigation is not clear, or push back on the request for other reasons,” said Twitter Canada.

Weekend time change brings about pedestrian safety initiative

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 6th, 2017

File photo of a crosswalk sign.

This past weekend’s time change comes with a Toronto Police pedestrian safety initiative.

The week-long Step Up and Be Safe campaign starts Monday with police officers paying particular attention to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians committing offences near crosswalks, intersections and school zones.

Pedestrians are also being encouraged to avoid using distracting electronic devices when approaching intersections.

Police say the number of pedestrian-related traffic injuries typically increases during the month of November, due in part to the time change.

A total of 28 pedestrians have lost their lives so far this year, which represents over 57 per cent of the total of all traffic fatalities in Toronto.

Last Friday, eight pedestrians were struck by vehicles across the city – five of them within one hour.

Const. Clint Stibbe said all collisions, including ones involving pedestrians, are preventable.

“We have to pay attention to what’s happening around us. Put down those devices. Make sure you are focusing on the task at hand which is either operating the car or even crossing the street,” he said.

Officials consider the day after the time change – whether it is fall back or spring forward – as one of the most dangerous days on the streets for pedestrians.

Texas church attack leaves 26 dead, small community reeling

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 6th, 2017

Mona Rodriguez holds her 12-year-old son, J Anthony Hernandez, during a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — A gunman dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a small South Texas church, killing 26 people in an attack that claimed tight-knit neighbours and multiple family members ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old.

Once the shooting started Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, there was likely “no way” for congregants to escape, said Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. Officials said about 20 others were wounded.

“He just walked down the centre aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out,” said Tackitt, who said the gunman also carried a handgun but that he didn’t know if it was fired. Tackitt described the scene as “terrible.”

“It’s unbelievable to see children, men and women, laying there. Defenceless people,” he said.

Authorities didn’t identify the attacker during a news conference Sunday night. But two other officials — one a U.S. official and one in law enforcement — identified him as Devin Kelley. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

The U.S. official said Kelley lived in a San Antonio suburb and didn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. Investigators were looking at social media posts Kelley made in the days before the attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.

Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force for assaulting his spouse and child, and was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement after a 2012 court-martial. Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his 2014 discharge, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

At the news conference, the attacker was described only as a white man in his 20s who was wearing black tactical gear and a ballistic vest when he pulled into a gas station across from the church, about 30 miles (48.28 kilometres) southeast of San Antonio, around 11:20 a.m.

The gunman crossed the street and started firing the rifle at the church, said Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, then continued firing after entering the white wood-frame building, where an 11 a.m. service was scheduled.

As he left, the shooter was confronted by an armed resident who “grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect,” Martin said. A short time later, the suspect was found dead in his vehicle at the county line.

Federal agents, including ATF investigators and the FBI’s evidence collection team, swarmed the small rural community of just hundreds of residents.

Several weapons were found inside the vehicle and Martin said it was unclear if the attacker died of a self-inflicted wound or if he was shot by the resident who confronted him. He said investigators weren’t ready to discuss a possible motive.

Martin said 23 of the dead were found in the church, two were found outside and one died after being taken to a hospital.

The man who confronted Kelley had help from another local resident, Johnnie Langendorff, who told KSAT TV that he was driving past the church as the shooting happened. He didn’t identify the armed resident but said the man exchanged gunfire with the gunman, then asked to get in Langendorff’s truck and the pair followed as the gunman drove away.

Langendorff said the gunman eventually lost control of his vehicle and crashed. He said the other man walked up to the vehicle with his gun drawn and the suspect did not move. He stayed there for at least five minutes, until police arrived.

“I was strictly just acting on what’s the right thing to do,” Langendorff said.

Among those killed was the church pastor’s 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Pomeroy. Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, were both out of town when the attack occurred, Sherri Pomeroy wrote in a text message.

“We lost our 14-year-old daughter today and many friends,” she wrote. “Neither of us has made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation. I am at the charlotte airport trying to get home as soon as I can.”


Church member Nick Uhlig, 34, who wasn’t at Sunday’s service, told the AP that his cousin, who was 8 months pregnant, and her in-laws were among those killed. He later told the Houston Chronicle that three of his cousin’s children also were slain.

President Donald Trump, who was in Japan, called the shooting an “act of evil,” later calling the gunman “a very deranged individual.”

Sunday evening, two sheriff’s vans were parked outside the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the address listed for Kelley on the rural, western outskirts of New Braunfels, north of San Antonio.

Ryan Albers, 16, who lives across the road, said he heard intensifying gunfire coming from that direction in recent days.

“It was definitely not just a shotgun or someone hunting,” Albers said. “It was someone using automatic weapon fire.”

The church has posted videos of its Sunday services on a YouTube channel, raising the possibility that the shooting was captured on video.

In a video of its Oct. 8 service, a congregant who spoke and read Scripture pointed to the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting a week earlier as evidence of the “wicked nature” of man. That shooting left 58 dead and more than 500 injured.

Gov. Greg Abbott called Sunday’s attack the worst mass shooting in Texas history. It came on the eighth anniversary of a shooting at the Texas’ Fort Hood, where 13 people were killed and 31 others wounded by a former U.S. Army major.

The previous deadliest mass shooting in Texas had been a 1991 attack in Killeen, when a mentally disturbed man crashed his pickup truck through a restaurant window at lunchtime and started shooting people, killing 23 and injuring more than 20 others.

The University of Texas was the site of one of the most infamous mass shootings in modern American history, when U.S. Marine sniper Charles Whitman climbed the Austin campus’ clock tower in 1966 and began firing on stunned people below, killing 13 and wounding nearly three dozen others. He had killed his wife and mother before heading to the tower, one victim died a week later and medical examiners eventually attributed a 17th death to Whitman in 2001.

Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington, Nomaan Merchant in Houston, Will Weissert in Austin, Diana Heidgerd in Dallas, Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles and Paul J. Weber in New Braunfels, Texas, contributed to this report.

Time after time: Clocks fall back, charity gaming marathon this weekend

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

A worker manually adjusting the clocks. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Charlie Riedel

The weekend is here, which means you can finally relax after a long week. And you will have an extra hour to relax, as clocks fall back at 2 a.m. on Sunday.

There are lots of events taking place this weekend, if you are heading out. If you would rather snuggle up with a warm scarf and some hot cocoa at home, that sounds like a marvelous idea too.

On a sombre note, although Remembrance Day is next weekend, a ceremony will be held this weekend in the city’s east end.

As you make your weekend plans, keep in mind a portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) will be closed for TTC work.


Gaming marathon for SickKids
If you like video games and helping a worthwhile cause then the ExtraLife charity video gaming marathon is right up your alley. For 25 hours, from Saturday to Sunday, gamers across various cities in Canada and the U.S. will be raising money for children’s hospitals while playing their favourite video games. In Toronto, the marathon will be held at the Raiders E-Sports Centre at St. Clair Avenue East and Yonge Street, with a suggested $5 donation (or pay what you can) at the door. There will be Xbox Ones on site for free to play and gaming PCs equipped with popular games, hourly giveaways and raffle prizes. You can also take part in the marathon at home. Click here to register. If you are not into video games but would still like to donate, click here1102-extralifeforkids-1024x576

Remembrance Day ceremony
Next weekend, Canadians will be paying their respects to soldiers and military personnel who fought and died in wars and conflicts around the world. However, the Scarborough Civic Centre will be holding its ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Maeesha Biswas, a University of Toronto National Scholar, will read “In Flanders Fields,” while the Girl Guides of Canada will sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The program is posted here.


Royal Winter Fair
The farm comes to the city for the annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. It’s the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and equestrian competition in the world. The Royal Horse show alone features more than 1,000 riders competing for almost $1 million in prize money. There are many new things at the show this year including a local food discovery zone, a daily demonstration about birds of prey and a country music showcase featuring emerging artists. There is truly something for everyone and you can check it out until Nov. 12.

Boots & Toques 5KM Walkathon
It’s a new fundraising walk that takes place along the Queensway Trail at night. All funds raised go to the Trillium Health Partners Foundation. The walk starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Huron Park Community Centre in Mississauga. Families are encouraged to take part. For more information and to make a donation, click here.

Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats
It’s all about the food this weekend in Toronto. Six Toronto museums will be hosting Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats on Saturday and Sunday between noon and 5 p.m. Participating sites include Fort York, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Montgomery’s Inn, Scarborough Museum, and the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site.  Each site will feature free live cooking demonstrations, food and drink samples and special guests.  Mayor Tory calls it a great way to learn about our city’s history through food. View the full schedule here.

TTC closures

Line 1 late opening
Subway service between Sheppard West and St George stations will start at noon on Saturday due to signal upgrades. Due to on-street construction, shuttle buses will only run between Sheppard West and Lawrence West stations. Wheel-Trans buses will be available between Sheppard West and St. George stations upon request.

Line 1 closure
Signal work will also force a subway subway closure between Sheppard West and Wilson stations this weekend. Shuttle buses will be running and Wheel-Trans service will be provided between Sheppard West and Lawrence West stations upon request.

Rogue employee responsible for deactivating Trump Twitter account

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

President Donald Trump THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Evan Vucci

Twitter says a rogue employee was responsible for deactivating President Donald Trump’s Twitter account on Thursday.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday, social media reports surfaced that the president’s personal account, @RealDonaldTrump, was unavailable, providing the error message that the user “does not exist.” The account was restored by 7:03 p.m.

Originally, Twitter announced through its Twitter Government account that it was “human error” which led to the account being down. The company said it was taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

A short time later, the company said the account was deactivated by a customer support employee on his last day with the company.

A spokesperson for the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

With files from The Associated Press

TSB says pilots should be tested for alcohol and drug use

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

File photo of an Air Canada flight making its final approach as it lands at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRRESS

The airline industry and Transport Canada should develop a program requiring pilots to be tested for drugs and alcohol, the Transportation Safety Board said Thursday after releasing a report into a crash that killed two people.

Board chairwoman Kathy Fox called on both sides to work with employee representatives to implement a program that would protect public safety. She added that self-policing by the industry has not worked, so the issue of impairment will continue to go unrecognized and unreported.

“What’s needed is something more, especially for safety-sensitive positions where, to be plain, people’s lives could be at stake,” she told a news conference.

“Alcohol impairment almost certainly played a role,” Fox said of the cargo plane crash on April 13, 2015, in the mountains north of Vancouver.

Four other fatal crashes since 2009, three involving commercial operators, had drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor, said Fox, who added it was time to learn lessons from the latest disaster.

The BC Coroners Service had reported that pilot Robert Brandt had a blood-alcohol level of three times the legal limit for driving.

Brandt, 34, was captain of the twin-engine Swearingen cargo aircraft operated by Carson Air. First officer Kevin Wang, 32, also died, but did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system.

Other countries, including the United States and Australia, have found mandatory drug and alcohol testing are most effective along with education, employee assistance programs, rehabilitation, return-to-duty programs and peer support, Fox said.

The safety board said the crew did not declare an emergency before the aircraft dropped to 900 metres from 2,400 metres in less than 20 seconds.

The agency was unable to confirm why the aircraft entered a steep dive and broke apart mid-air, Fox said.

“This is not satisfying to the TSB, certainly not for the families involved and not to Canadians who have come to rely on one of the safest transportation systems in the world.”

Jason Kobi, the investigator in charge, said the aircraft disappeared from radar 80 seconds after the pilots’ final contact with air-traffic control.

There was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder on board, and the lack of hard data significantly undermined the investigation, Kobi said.

Investigators found the aircraft entered a steep dive and accelerated to a high speed that exceeded its structural limits and caused it to break apart before crashing, he said. Debris scattered over a wide area.

“But the question remained: Why? Unfortunately, we were never able to determine this with certainty.”

Kobi said the pilot’s high blood-alcohol content was one possibility, because it meant his physical and mental performance would have been impaired and he could have lost consciousness.

“Even if the captain, had been, for example, slumped forward toward the controls we found no indication that the first officer was incapacitated and he should still have been able to regain control of the aircraft.”

It’s also possible heaters that provide air speed information were off or malfunctioned or that the aircraft was intentionally placed into a steep dive, with several factors suggesting that could have been the case, Kobi said.

They include the duration of the dive, absence of any emergency communication and the lack of recovery efforts when the plane started to descend rapidly.

Other possible coincidental factors have been identified, including physical indications that the pilot had a history of heavy alcohol use and “the fact that there is a significant relationship between alcohol use and suicidal behaviour,” Kobi said.

“Those several coincidental factors were present (but) the investigation could not conclude anything about the captain’s predisposition to commit an intentional act.”

2 seriously injured in tractor-trailer rollover on Hwy. 427

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

A tractor-trailer rolled over on the southbound Highway 427 collectors off-ramp to Dundas Street on Oct. 3, 2017. CITYNEWS/Jason MacLellan

Two people have serious injuries after a tractor-trailer rollover on Highway 427 in Etobicoke.

Emergency crews were called to the scene just before 3 a.m. on Friday.

The rollover happened on the southbound collectors off-ramp to Dundas Street.

A man was rushed to rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The woman’s injuries are serious but not life-threatening.

It doesn’t appear any other vehicles were involved in the crash.

The ramp is closed as police investigate.


Province steps up to keep pop-up injection site running through winter

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017


The Ontario government is stepping in to help winterize a pop-up safe injection site in Moss Park while they wait for approval to get the operation moved indoors.

The unsanctioned site has been allowed to operate without city or police interference since the summer. It’s run by volunteers who are trained to use Naloxone, an overdose antidote.

“We’ve stopped over 85 overdoses since August 12,” said harm-reduction advocate Nick Boyce of Toronto Overdose Prevention Society.

“We’ve witnessed close to 2,000 injections. We’re trying to move drug-use out of the alleyway to a safe environment. The drug supply is so toxic people are dropping. Those are 85 people that would be dead if we weren’t here.”

With temperatures falling, it was hoped the safe injection site could be moved to the basement of a nearby drop-in centre. Mayor John Tory and Ontario Health Minster Eric Hoskins have thrown their support behind the request but they need a federal exemption before that can happen. After determining they couldn’t wait any longer, the province offered up an ambulatory tent with heat and power.

But not everyone is welcoming the province’s move. In an open letter, city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti blasted the mayor for supporting unsafe injection sites.

“Rather than offer real help to those who are suffering from mental health issues and addictions, Mayor John Tory and the Board of Health are enabling very dangerous and disruptive behavior,” says Mammoliti.

“Drug abuse is not a victimless crime. …Who would want their children to be walking around or playing in the parks and streets next to injection sites?”

Mammoliti wants to see the provincial government make safe injection services and addiction treatment available in hospitals.

Toronto received approval for three permanent facilities in June. They are located at Toronto Public Health’s The Works, the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

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