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TTC planning new shuttle buses to connect riders to Mimico GO station

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 19th, 2018

Getting to the GO station could soon be a lot easier for residents of Humber Bay Shores and the Mystic Point neighbourhoods.

 

On Thursday the TTC unveiled plans for a new community shuttle bus, connecting tens of thousands of people to the Mimico GO station.

The frequency, and costs of the run, are still being worked out while the community has a chance to provide input, but the goal is to have it running by the summer.

“We are going to try to get this thing going hopefully by the summer. This will get people to and back from the GO station Mimico,” Mark Grimes, councillor for Etobicoke-Lakeshore told CityNews.

Although there are tens of thousands of people living in the largely vertical neighbourhoods, there is currently no transit connection to the GO station — forcing people to park illegally on side streets to catch the GO or get in their cars to commute downtown.

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“Transit is seriously lacking,” area resident Sandra Dundek says. “It’s always congested — even when it’s not rush hour.”

To make matters worse, even more people are moving into the area. There are over a half dozen developments under way in the Mystic Point / Humber Bay area, with several others in the works in nearby Mimico.

In 2016, Mimico station had an average weekly ridership of 3200 passengers — making it the 6th busiest station on the Lakeshore West line. But Grimes believes ridership would be much higher if the station was located closer to the higher density neighbourhood of Humber Bay Shores.

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“Transit is seriously lacking,” area resident Sandra Dundek says. “It’s always congested — even when it’s not rush hour.”

To make matters worse, even more people are moving into the area. There are over a half dozen developments under way in the Mystic Point / Humber Bay area, with several others in the works in nearby Mimico.

In 2016, Mimico station had an average weekly ridership of 3200 passengers — making it the 6th busiest station on the Lakeshore West line. But Grimes believes ridership would be much higher if the station was located closer to the higher density neighbourhood of Humber Bay Shores.

 

EpiPen, used to treat life-threatening allergic reaction, in short supply

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jan 19th, 2018

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The Canadian distributor of the EpiPen says there is a shortage of one size of the emergency treatment for people at risk of life-threatening allergic reactions.

Pfizer Canada says there is a shortage of the 0.3-milligram form of the EpiPen because of a manufacturing disruption. The 0.15-mg EpiPen Jr product for young children is not affected.

The company anticipates the shortfall in supply will be resolved by March 2.

It says additional limited inventory will be available at the beginning of February, but will be carefully managed.

EpiPens expire on the last day of the month indicated on the product packaging. But Health Canada advises anyone having an anaphylactic reaction to use their expired product and immediately call 911.

Pfizer is asking pharmacists to keep the supply interruption in mind when filling prescriptions, as there are currently no alternative auto-injectors available on the Canadian market.

“At this time, there is limited supply of auto-injectors at wholesalers, distributors and at pharmacies,” the drug maker said on its website.

“While we are working closely with our distributors to avoid long-term supply shortage at the store level, we expect a period of between two and four weeks of no inventory.”

‘Epidemic’ of loneliness more deadly than smoking, study finds

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 19th, 2018

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Researchers and health care providers are warning loneliness is turning into an epidemic with the very real potential of putting a significant drain on public health care dollars if not tackled immediately by local governments.

 

The warning comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May recently appointed a minister for loneliness in a drive to tackle social isolation, a problem endured by 9-million Brits.

In Canada, studies have shown one in five Canadians experience some degree of loneliness and social isolation.

Dr. Oren Amitay, a Toronto psychologist, says loneliness and social isolation is not only becoming an epidemic, but a significant cause of mental distress.

“Loneliness contributes to stress and stress contributes to everything, whether it’s a sense of depression, fatigue, anxiety,” Amitay said. “For a lot of people, it may not be the most conscious thought on their mind, but people are truly afraid of dying alone.”

study by researchers at Brigham Young University in 2015 found the ill effects of loneliness are as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The study looked at more than three million participants and found increased social connection is linked to a 50 per cent reduced risk of premature death.

The 2016 Census found one-person households account for more than 28 per cent of all households. The number of couples with children have been falling steadily since 2001, now making up 26.5 per cent of all households.

Dipika Damerla, Ontario Minister of Seniors Affairs, said the Liberals recently invested $155-million to tackle social isolation among the elderly.

“I can tell you with confidence that the entire $155-million plan marries these two ideas which is that people want to live on their own as long as they can, but not at the cost of getting socially isolated,” she said.

As for what to do if chronic loneliness strikes, Dr. Amitay says its best for people to find a hobby or project that gives them purpose. Pets can also help seniors who may be isolated due to a lack of physical mobility.

Toronto man, 66, charged with 2 counts of first-degree murder in missing men probe

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 19th, 2018

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Efforts to assuage fears that a serial killer was active in Toronto’s Gay Village came to a chilling end on Thursday, when police announced the arrest of a 66-year-old man they allege murdered at least two missing men, and possibly more.

 

Bruce McArthur, 66, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, 49, and Selim Esen, 44, after Toronto police said new and “significant” evidence came to light on Wednesday.

The bodies of Kinsman and Selim have not been found, but Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga said they have a “pretty good idea of what the cause of death is.”

Kinsman has been missing since June 26. Esen hasn’t been seen since April 15.

The suspect in their deaths is a self-employed landscaper who lives in Thorncliffe Park and runs a company called Artistic Design.

“We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Kinsman and Esen,” Det.-Sgt. Idsinga said from police headquarters, adding investigators have evidence that leads them to believe there are more victims

“We aren’t able at this time to identify those victims. We are aware of the other missing men from the village and we are trying to identify if they may have become victims of Mr. McArthur as well.”

Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam, 40, and Abdulbasir “Basir” Faizi, 44, both went missing from the Church and Wellesley area in 2010. Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, 58, vanished from the area in October, 2012.

Police say all three of the missing men share a similar ethnicity and lifestyle and were active in the Church and Wellesley community.

Police had previously said there was no evidence connecting the disappearances of Kinsman and Selim, or the other men who remain missing from the Gay Village.

 

Chief Mark Saunders was at Wednesday’s news conference, and he defended how police handled the case.

“What I said, at the time that I said it, was accurate at the time,” he stressed, referring to how police had previously tried to downplay fears of a serial killer.

Idsinga said McArthur knew at least one of his alleged victims.

“He did have a relationship with Mr. Kinsman for some time,” he said. “We don’t know what his exact relationship with Mr. Esen was leading up to his (alleged) murder.”

When asked what the nature of the relationship with Kinsman was, Idsinga replied, “sexual.”

 

Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group Egale, said news of the arrest brought relief after months of fear and apprehension.

“The community, especially in the village, were very, very nervous, and rightly so. Two gay men went missing and the circumstances around their disappearances were very suspect and so people were speculating about what had happened to these two guys,” she said.

“I think that we had every right to be afraid and nervous, but at the same time, the police need time to do their work,” she said.

(Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report)

One-third of Ontario parents believe school zones are unsafe: Ipsos poll

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 18th, 2018

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Just days after a five-year-old girl died after being pinned between two cars while being picked up from school, the CAA is out with a new survey that shows one-third of parents believe school zones are unsafe.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos, found that traffic volume and dangerous driving behaviour are the biggest concerns for parents when it comes to school zone safety.

Two in five people asked said they had “witnessed or experienced” an incident in a school zone.

The survey found that the most frequently witnessed dangerous behaviours are adult pedestrians using their cellphones while crossing the street or crossing unsafely at an uncontrolled place midblock. Other dangerous behaviours included drivers double parking, speeding and stopping in undesignated areas.

The survey asked 1,000 parents of school-aged children (kindergarten through grade 8) across Ontario.

CityNews spoke to Matti Siemiatycki, an associate professor of geography and urban planning at the University of Toronto about some of the practical ways to make the areas around school zones safer. Watch below. 

 

Piece of scaffolding falls on girl at Toronto school

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 18th, 2018

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The Toronto District School Board has halted a construction project at a school in the Annex after a piece of scaffolding fell on a student earlier this week.

 

 

The incident happened Monday outside of Palmerston Avenue Junior Public School, near Bloor Street and Bathurst Street, when a piece of construction material fell and hit a young girl.

The student was taken for a medical assessment and will be fine, according to TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird.

School staff moved students to a separate building as a precaution until the scaffolding could be checked, Bird said in a statement. “An inspection by the contractor followed and when the school received assurances that the scaffolding was safe, students were permitted to return.”

Work on the project has been paused until the board is certain “it can resume safely.”

Family of Toronto girl who claimed her hijab was cut apologizes: reports

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jan 18th, 2018

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Media reports say the family of an 11-year-old Toronto girl whose story of having her hijab cut in an attack last week turned out to be untrue has apologized.

Several news outlets cite a statement from the girl’s family that was released on Wednesday.

Police began investigating last Friday, after the girl said she was attacked twice on the way to school by a man who cut her hijab with scissors.

The alleged attack received widespread media attention, and several prominent figures denounced it while expressing solidarity with the girl and the Muslim community.

On Monday, Toronto police said their investigation revealed that the incident did not happen.

Media reports Wednesday evening quote the family as saying they are “deeply sorry” for the “pain and anger” the story has caused.

Bag containing live eels found in Toronto mall washroom

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 17th, 2018

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A bag of live eels isn’t something you see expect to find in a public washroom, but that’s what happened Sunday evening at a mall in east-end Toronto.

Scarborough Town Centre Mall marketing director Jai Lee says a customer reported seeing two eels in the washroom and security staff went in to collect the slithery fish.

She says one of the eels had escaped from a bag, but was quickly captured and the pair of eels was taken to a nearby pet shop that specializes in fish.

Lee says they don’t believe it was a prank.

She says the eels were a variety that is sold as food and it’s believed a customer simply forgot the bag in the washroom.

Lee says nobody has come forward to claim the eels.

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