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Toronto capybaras still on the loose as search continues

CityNews | posted Friday, May 27th, 2016

Toronto’s capybaras, recently nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde, are still on the lam.

The city’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation department has been scouring High Park looking for the daring duo, using a bait of corn, fruit and low clicking sounds familiar to capybaras.

The two Texas natives, estimated to be about six months old, have been on the loose since Tuesday, when they escaped from their pen at the High Park Zoo.

Zoo staff recommend not approaching the animals if spotted, because they are shy and skittish. Instead, they recommend spotters call 311.

capybara wanted poster

“We received many reports today of sightings to 311 as far north as Finch and east to Scarborough,”the zoo wrote on their Facebook page. “These we believe were groundhogs. The difference is when a capybara walks you can see their legs.”

Lynn Goldman believes she may have seen the large rodents on Blue Forest Drive near Dufferin and Finch.

“We said, ‘What is that? A beaver or a cross? We watched the news and that was it, looks like a beaver with its tail cut off.”

She says the animals were near a ravine and water. “Everyone’s looking for it in High Park and I said, ‘Not uh, somehow it’s made it way north to the ravine.’”

One Toronto game developer has figured out a way to capitalize on the capybara craziness, bycreating a game called “Caperbaras!” that can be played online.

Girl, 12, was biking when she was hit by a bus in Mississauga

CityNews | posted Friday, May 27th, 2016

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A 12-year-old girl is in critical condition in hospital she was struck by a bus near Meadowvale Town Centre on Thursday night.

She was on her bike at the time.

Peel Region Police say she was hit near the intersection of Meadowvale Town Centre Circle and Aquitaine Avenue just before 9 p.m.

At the time, paramedics said she was taken to a trauma centre with serious but non-life threatening injuries. However, police later updated her condition to critical.

There is no word on the extent of her injuries.

No other pedestrians or passengers were hurt.

Police raid Toronto pot dispensaries for non-medical marijuana traffickers

CityNews | posted Friday, May 27th, 2016

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Toronto police raided several marijuana dispensaries across the city on Thursday, charging people for trafficking non-medical marijuana.

The drug squad worked with several police divisions and the city’s Licencing and Standards division in conducting the raids.

Among the dispensaries which were raided:

  • 600 Church St.
  • Eden Medicinal Society (Queen Street location)
  • Cannabis Connoisseur
  • The Green Room (Spadina and Nassau)
  • Weed, Glass and Gifts
  • Cannawide in Kensington Market

Toronto Police said this was a criminal investigation. The drug squad officers were enforcing the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Police said they handed out cautions on May 18 and if the dispensaries were still operating illegally, they would be fined.

Police are scheduled to release the details about the raids, dubbed Project Claudia, including locations, charges and products seized at a press conference Friday morning.

Aaron Salz, an investment analyst at Interward Asset Management, says it’s likely that licensed producers pushed for today’s crackdown.

“If you’re a licensed producer with tens of millions of dollars of shareholder money invested into your facility and there’s an illegal business that’s disrupting you and isn’t operating legally, you have a vested interest to make sure that’s not happening,” he said. “In my view, there’s definitely some effort on the licensed producers that brought this about to some degree.”

The Municipal Licensing and Standards division said that as of Wednesday, it had issued notices to 78 property owners out of a known 83 dispensaries. The notices advised the property owners that the dispensaries are operating against the city’s zoning bylaw and that the owner may face charges. On Thursday, bylaw officers are charging business owners for “zoning by-law contraventions along with other municipal by-law charges.”

Important food safety tips for summer

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, May 26th, 2016

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Summer is approaching, which means grilling season is in full effect. Many will be heading out the patio and grilling chicken, steak or fish for family and friends. However, there are some precautions to take as handling raw meats increases the risk of foodborne illness.

Health Canada states that between 11 and 13 million people experience foodborne illness every year. Ensuring the safety of raw meats can be challenging, especially in the summer as warmer temperatures increase the chance of bacteria forming. Luckily, Rose Reisman has simple tips to keep in mind to lower your risk of foodborne illness this summer.

Chill

1) Have two different coolers on hand.
Keep raw meats and perishable foods like salads and vegetables separate by using two coolers.

2) Fill each cooler with ice packs.
The temperature inside the cooler should be at or below 4°C (40°F).  Remember food should be kept out of the temperature danger zone of 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F) as harmful bacteria can grow in as little as two hours within this range.

3) Keep food stored in lock up containers.
Be wary of re-sealable freezer bags as they can leak and contaminate an entire cooler.

Cook

1) Check the temperature of cooked meats.
Bacteria that causes strands of food poisoning (E. coli, salmonella, campylobacterare killed by heat. To avoid foodborne illness, meat must be cooked to a safe internal temperature as colour alone is not a reliable indicator.

Ground meat: 165°F (74°C)
Fish: 145°F (63°C)
Poultry: 165F (74°C)
Pork: 145°F (63°C)

2) Marinate meats to reduce carcinogens from flames.
A marinated steak can cut carcinogens by up to 88 per cent. When meat has been marinated, it creates barrier from harmful chemicals produced by heat.

Clean

1) Wash your hands thoroughly.
Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling food. Be careful if using hand sanitizer or alcohol based wipes, as these contain flammable ingredients.

2) Use a clean plate when taking food off the grill.
Never put ready-to-eat or cooked food on a plate that was used for raw meat, poultry or seafood as this will cause cross contamination.

3) Keep several sets of clean utensils, cutting boards, and plates on hand.
Prevent cross-contamination by using utensils, cutting boards, and plates that are visually different.

Worst foods to leave out

- Ice cream or ice cream sandwiches
- Potato salad or egg salad
- Coleslaw
- Chocolate

Best foods to leave out

- Pasta salad or bean salad (that don’t contain  mayonnaise)
- Cheese and crackers
- Chips and dip
- Veggies and hummus

Cavaliers torch the Raptors 116-78 in Game 5

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 26th, 2016

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The Toronto Raptors rode a wave of momentum into Cleveland on Wednesday.

But by the merciful end of an atrocious Game 5 effort, it was tough to believe the Raptors had ever beaten the Cavaliers at all.

Cleveland’s trio of Kevin Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 71 points as the Cavaliers thoroughly trounced the Raptors 116-78 to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

DeMar DeRozan had 14 points, while Kyle Lowry had 13, but no other Raptor scored in double digits in Toronto’s worst performance of these playoffs. Jonas Valanciunas returned from his ankle injury to score nine points in 19 minutes.

The Raptors were coming off back-to-back victories at the Air Canada Centre, infusing fans with a glimmer of hope for an historic NBA finals appearance. But the Cavaliers’ homecourt had proven deadly to Toronto in Games 1 and 2: a 50-point deficit combined.

Coach Dwane Casey has predicted a different game on their return trip to Cleveland, but it was evident virtually from the opening whistle that they were in for a long night.

In a noisy Quicken Loans Arena awash in wine and gold, they looked completely discombobulated. They were terrible in virtually every category, a dog’s breakfast of poor decisions, terrible shooting, and head-slapping turnovers. Their defensive effort, against a Cavs team that opened the post-season 10-0, was half-hearted.

They’d dug themselves an 18-point deficit by late in the first quarter, and when Love drained a three-pointer late in the second, the Cavs were up by a whopping 34 points. Cleveland’s 65-34 lead at the break was the biggest halftime gap in conference finals history.

When it seemingly couldn’t get worse, it did. Frustration mounted. The Raptors looked like they wanted to be anywhere else. By the end of the third, the score was a shocking 100-60.

Both teams subbed out their starters for a fourth quarter played after hundreds of fans had already departed the building.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue had blamed the two losses in Toronto on poor shooting, and his team proved him right. The Cavs shot 57 per cent on the night. Love, who’d shot 5-for-23 in Games 3 and 4, topped Cleveland with 25 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

The Cavs grabbed 48 rebounds to Toronto’s 27 – just one more than Bismack Biyombo had, on his own, in Game 3. The Raptors coughed up 30 points on 19 turnovers.

The series returns to the Air Canada Centre for Game 6 on Friday. A victory, however, would send them back into Cleveland for a do-or-die Game 7, where the noise reached ear-splitting levels Wednesday night in a crowd that included Montreal Canadiens star P.K. Subban and Browns defensive back Joe Haden.

Shots of Canadians Drake, Justin Bieber and Nickelback flashed on the Jumbotron, encouraging fans to boo. Late in the game, the camera focused on a downcast Raptors fan folding his “We The North” flag.

DeRozan’s four points were the most by a Raptor in a first quarter that saw Toronto trail by just four points before the Cavs closed the quarter on a 17-3 run to end the frame up 37-19.

Lowry’s six points topped Toronto in the second quarter, but they were barely noticeable in a quarter the Cavaliers outscored their visitors 28-15.

The Weeknd cancels Jimmy Kimmel performance over Donald Trump appearance

News staff and The Associated Press | posted Thursday, May 26th, 2016

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Toronto singer The Weeknd cancelled Wednesday night’s performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” because of Donald Trump.

He was supposed to perform a song with Canadian rapper Belly, who said he didn’t want to share the same stage with the republican presidential nominee because of his views on immigrants, Muslims and women.

“I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world — from religion to race,” Belly said in a statement. “I just didn’t want to feel like I was a part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs that majority of us don’t agree with.”

Trump has been criticized by some political rivals and voters for his comments, such as when he said some Mexican immigrants in the U.S. illegally are “rapists” and when he called for a ban on Muslim immigration into the United States.

A Trump spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on The Weeknd and Belly.

The Jimmy Kimmel show had no comment, a representative said. Representatives for The Weeknd didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The Weeknd won two Grammy Awards earlier this year, including best urban contemporary album for “Beauty Behind the Madness.” Belly has co-written many of The Weeknd’s hits, including “Earned It,” ”The Hills,” ”Into the Night” and “Often.”

The Weeknd appears on Belly’s song “Might Not,” which they were set to perform on Kimmel’s show.

CAA to reveal Ontario’s worst roads

CityNews | posted Thursday, May 26th, 2016

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The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) will reveal Ontario’s worst roads on Thursday morning.

One month ago, the CAA put out its annual poll, asking for drivers across the province to nominate and then vote for the worst roads.

Last year, Dufferin was the worst road in Toronto, but the top Ontario ‘honours’ went to Algonquin Boulevard West (No. 1) and Algonquin Boulevard East (No. 2) in Timmins.

Last year’s results can be seen below.

Ontario’s top 10 worst roads for 2015:

  1. Algonquin Boulevard West, Timmins
  2. Algonquin Boulevard East, Timmins
  3. Dufferin Street, Toronto
  4. Highway 144, Greater Sudbury
  5. Carling Avenue, Ottawa
  6. Radical Road, Port Dover
  7. Burlington Street East, Hamilton
  8. Riverside Drive, Timmins
  9. Dominion Road, Fort Erie
  10. Bayview Avenue, Toronto

More to come

Goodbye, empty nest: Millennials staying longer with parents

CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

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Many of America’s young adults appear to be in no hurry to move out of their old bedrooms.

For the first time on record, living with parents is now the most common arrangement for people ages 18 to 34, an analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center has found.

And the proportion of older millennials — those ages 25 to 34 — who are living at home has reached its highest point (19 percent) on record, Pew analysts said.

Nearly one-third of all millennials live with their parents, slightly more than the proportion who live with a spouse or partner. It’s the first time that living at home has outpaced living with a spouse for this age group since such record-keeping began in 1880.

The remaining young adults are living alone, with other relatives, in college dorms, as roommates or under other circumstances.

The sharp shift reflects a long-running decline in marriage, amplified by the economic upheavals of the Great Recession. The trend has been particularly evident among Americans who lack a college degree.

The pattern may be a contributing factor in the sluggish growth of the U.S. economy, which depends heavily on consumer spending. With more young people living with their parents rather than on their own, fewer people need to buy appliances, furniture or cable subscriptions.

The recovery from the 2008-09 recession has been hobbled by historically low levels of home construction and home ownership.

Jennifer Post, 26, has been living with her parents in Villas, New Jersey, since dropping out of law school two years ago.

A law career wasn’t a good fit for her, Post decided, and now she’s seeking a job in digital media or marketing. There aren’t many opportunities in Villas, a beach town.

Even living at home, she said it’s been hard to save for a move to a bigger city after she was laid off from a baking job in March.

Post spends her days on her laptop, sending resumes and refreshing LinkedIn and other job sites. To her parents, it looks as though she’s slacking off.

“It’s definitely a generation gap,” she said. “I think they literally think I just sit down and watch Netflix all day.”

As recently as 2000, nearly 43 percent of young adults ages 18 to 34 were married or living with a partner. By 2014, that proportion was just 31.6 percent.

In 2000, only 23 percent of young adults were living with parents. In 2014, the figure reached 32.1 percent.

The proportion of young adults living with their parents is similar to the proportions that prevailed from 1880 through 1940, when the figure peaked, Pew found. Yet in those decades, the most common arrangement for young adults was living with a spouse rather than with parents.

“We’ve simply got a lot more singles,” said Richard Fry, lead author of the report and a senior economist at Pew. “They’re the group much more likely to live with their parents.”

The typical U.S. woman now marries at 27.1 years old, the typical man at 29.2, according to census data. That’s up from record lows of 20.1 for women and 22.5 for men in 1956.

“They’re concentrating more on school, careers and work and less focused on forming new families, spouses or partners and children,” Fry said.

The shift may also be disrupting the housing market. One mystery that’s confounded analysts is why there aren’t more homes for sale. The lack of available houses has driven up prices and made it less affordable for many would-be purchasers to buy.

Nela Richardson, chief economist at real estate brokerage Redfin, says one explanation for the sparse supply is that many baby boomers aren’t able to sell their family homes and downsize for retirement because they still have adult children living with them. Redfin surveyed homeowners ages 55 to 64 and found that one-fifth still have adult children at home.

“It’s having a big effect on the housing market,” Richardson said.

Among young men, declining employment and falling wages are another factor keeping many 18-to-34-year-olds unmarried, Fry said. The share of young men with jobs fell to 71 percent in 2014 from 84 percent in 1960 — the year when the proportion of young adults living outside the home peaked.

Incomes have fallen, too: Wages, adjusted for inflation, plunged 34 percent for the typical young man from 2000 to 2014.

Other factors contributing to more millennials living with parents range from rising apartment rents to heavy student-debt loads to longer periods in college.

Many analysts had expected that as the economy improved, younger adults would increasingly move out on their own. That hasn’t happened. Jed Kolko, a senior fellow at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, says soaring rents are discouraging some from leaving their parents’ homes.

Kolko’s research has found that the share of young adults living with parents in the first quarter of 2016 was essentially unchanged from two years earlier.

Median rents nationwide were surging at a 6 percent annual pace as recently as August, though they have slowed since. In fast-growing cities like San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, rents rose last year at a double-digit pace.

Heavier student debt loads have sent more young people back to their parents’ nests, according to research by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Other economists aren’t convinced that student debt plays a dominant role. They note that the proportion of young adults without college degrees who live with parents is especially high: Nearly 39 percent of those with only a high school degree were living with a parent in 2014, up from around 26 percent in 2000.

That compares with just 19 percent of young adult college grads living at home in 2014. That figure, though, is up sharply from 11 percent in 2000.

Still, economists say most millennials appear to be delaying, rather than avoiding, marriage.

Casey Marshella moved back in with her parents in Fairfield, Connecticut, after graduating from Boston University last year. Just this week, she moved into an apartment with her sister. Within weeks, she and a friend — who also lives with her parents — expect to find their own place.

Marshella, 22, says living at home has helped her save money from her job as a human resources specialist. Because many people her age share the same circumstances, most sympathize with her.

Still, Marshella says their first question is usually, “So when are you planning on moving out?”

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