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FILE - In this March 13, 2015 file photo, Mark Salling arrives at the 32nd annual Paleyfest "Glee" in Los Angeles. Salling, one of the stars of the Fox musical comedy “Glee,” died, Tuesday Jan. 30, 2018. He was 35. Salling’s lawyer, Michael J. Proctor did not release the cause of death. Salling pleaded guilty in December to possession of child pornography.  (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

‘Glee’ actor Mark Salling dies weeks after child porn guilty plea

John Rogers and Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 31st, 2018

Mark Salling, who played bad-boy Noah “Puck” Puckerman in the hit musical-comedy “Glee,” died of an apparent suicide Tuesday, weeks after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography. He was 35.

Salling pleaded guilty in December after authorities said a search of his computer and a thumb drive found more than 50,000 images of child porn. He was scheduled to be sentenced March 7, and prosecutors planned to ask a judge to send him to prison for four to seven years.

A law enforcement official not authorized to speak publicly said Salling was found hanging in a riverbed area in the Tujunga neighbourhood of Los Angeles. Ed Winter, assistant chief investigator for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, said the death is being investigated as a suicide.

Winter said Salling was pronounced dead at 9 a.m. Tuesday, six hours after police received a report that he was missing.

“Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgment,” Salling’s attorney, Michael J. Proctor, said in an email to The Associated Press.

Proctor didn’t discuss the cause of death, but said the actor’s family appreciated the support it is receiving and asked that a request for privacy be respected.

The darkly handsome actor had appeared in only a handful of projects before his breakout role in “Glee,” the popular Fox TV series about students in a high school glee club and their circle of family and friends. It aired from 2009-15.

Earlier credits included 1996’s “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering,” a 1999 guest role on the Chuck Norris series “Walker, Texas Ranger” and a part in the 2014 TV movie “Rocky Road.”

A singer-songwriter as well as actor, he released two albums: “Smoke Signals” in 2008 and “Pipe Dreams” in 2010.

Following “Pipe Dreams’,” release, Salling told The Associated Press he had been a singer-songwriter long before he became an actor.

“I put out a record before. It went triple cardboard,” he joked. “I was very excited about selling 125 units for that but you know this is something I’ve been doing my whole life. It’s not something that I just decided to randomly do now. This is not the first. It won’t be the last. And I hope people enjoy it and have something to look forward to for the next round.”

He said he chose the album’s songs from 50 to 60 he had compiled over several years.

Salling’s character on “Glee” was a member of the school’s football team who ends up joining the glee club. One of his character’s friends was another jock-turned-singer, Finn Hudson, who was played by Cory Monteith.

Monteith died in 2013 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin, according to a coroner’s finding.

Mark Wayne Salling was born Aug. 17, 1982, in Dallas, the youngest child of John Salling, an accountant, and his wife, Condy, a school secretary.

Like his character on “Glee,” Salling was a jock, taking part in wrestling, rugby, basketball and other school sports when he wasn’t playing guitar or piano. By high school he was playing gigs in local bars.

Soon after finishing school he moved to California to pursue an acting and music career and to study guitar at the Los Angeles Music Academy.

After seven years of failing to land any substantial roles, and having released just one album, Salling was ready to give up when his older brother, Matt, exhorted him to keep trying. Soon after he landed the role on “Glee,” where he quickly captivated audiences. His performance of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” even won praise from Diamond himself.

Salling said his own musical preferences covered a wide range from jazz to country to rock, pop and hip-hop. He cited Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails as among his musical influences.

He is survived by his parents and brother.

AP Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this story.

Hookworm-related skin infection a risk with travel to tropics: expert

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 31st, 2018


The experience of a Windsor couple who returned from a Caribbean vacation with their feet severely infected with parasitic worms is a cautionary tale of what travellers to some warm-weather destinations might encounter — and how they might avoid a similar fate, says a tropical medicine specialist.

Dr. Jay Keystone, a physician in the tropical disease unit at Toronto General Hospital, said cases of the hookworm-related skin infection that afflicted Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner on a recent trip to the Dominican Republic are not that uncommon among travellers to developing countries.

Stephens, 22, and Zytner, 25, spent time walking barefoot on the beach in Punta Cana and unwittingly picked up an infection known as cutaneous larva migrans, or CLM. Keystone said the parasite is a form of hookworm spread in the feces of animals.

“It’s from dogs and cats pooping indiscriminately on the beaches,” he said, explaining that the microscopic worms multiply and then infect people whose bare skin comes in contact with sand or soil.

CLM doesn’t penetrate beyond the skin layer in people, unlike the human form of hookworm that makes its way through the skin and eventually “sets up shop” in the small intestine. The blood-sucking parasites are the major cause of iron-deficiency anemia in developing countries.

Cases of cutaneous larva migrans make up about 10 to 20 per cent of travel-related skin problems among patients seen by hospital tropical disease units, Keystone said.

“We have seen this year alone probably two or three dozen patients with CLM,” said Keystone, adding that the parasitic worms are common in the Caribbean, South America, Mexico and southeast Asia, especially in Thailand. About 60 per cent of the cases doctors at TGH see are in travellers who have returned from Jamaica, he said.

Most people aren’t as severely affected as Stephens and Zytner, whose feet and ankles were swollen and marked by angry-looking snake-like tracks burrowed under the skin.

“Most people only have one or two lesions,” said Keystone, who has been practising tropical disease medicine for 40 years. “They don’t get the blisters that can occur.”

The infection is extraordinarily itchy — the result of the immune system trying to rid the parasite from the body.

“The itchiness is so severe that people who come back from the Tropics in the winter, one of the ways they get rid of the itching is they run outside and put their feet in the snow, ” he said.

CLM usually goes away on its own in a couple of months without treatment, although Keystone said he’s had some patients afflicted for up to a year.

There are two oral drugs that can kill the infestation, but getting them can be tough, as neither is approved for sale use in Canada by the Health Protection Branch.

Keystone said he can be obtain prescriptions for patients through a compounding pharmacy or they can be purchased in the U.S., which is what Stephens and Zytner were forced to do when Health Canada denied them access to the drug ivermectin.

He said ivermectin is expected to be licensed for sale in Canada later this year.

So what can Canadians who travel to sunnier climes do to prevent the parasitic infection?

Sandals offer no protection, nor does washing the skin after exposure to sand, says Keystone, who is nevertheless loathe to suggest winter-weary travellers wear closed-toe footwear while walking on the sand.

“I would tell people they shouldn’t be lying on the sand and especially if they see a lot of dogs or cats around — that’s a red flag. Even lying on a towel on the sand doesn’t protect you,” he said, advising sun-worshippers to recline on a lounge chair instead.

“I don’t want people to freak out about it … I would tell people you take your chances. You’re going to the developing world, this is one of things that you may have to contend with.”

Couple returns home from Aruba to find luggage burned

Brandon Rowe, News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2018


No amount of sunscreen could have prevented this vacation burn.

A Bradford couple claims they returned home from Aruba on Saturday night to find their luggage badly burned, with some of their clothes inside even melted together.

The couple first noticed something was amiss when they spotted their suitcase rounding the carousel at Pearson Airport wrapped in plastic.

After hauling it off and unwrapping the plastic they noticed the burn damage.

The couple didn’t want to appear on camera but told CityNews they were left with few answers from Sunwing Airlines.

Sunwing told CityNews it was aware of the damage and was willing to provide compensation through the appropriate channels.

“Our ground services team at Toronto Pearson International Airport has confirmed that one item of luggage was reported as damaged upon arrival on yesterday’s inbound flight from Aruba,” a Sunwing representative said in an email statement to CityNews.

Sunwing believes that luggage was damaged on the sortation conveyor belt in Aruba.


“Our policy, once a claim is made, is to offer our passengers a replacement for their suitcase and any damaged items within it when incidents such as this one occur,” the airline said.

Air passenger rights advocate, Gabor Lukacs, says in cases like this Sunwing could be liable for damage up to $2000.

He also had some advice for passengers who finds themselves in similar situations.

“When you’re baggage is damaged you should report it, if possible, at the airport when you arrive,” he advised. “And certainly within seven days in writing. Don’t just phone. Make sure you send a letter of complaint, setting out the date, the nature of the damage, perhaps some photos …within seven days of your arrival.”

2 on-duty Toronto officers ate weed edibles seized from raid: Source

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2018


Two Toronto police officers ate marijuana edibles that were seized during a dispensary raid on Saturday night, a source tells CityNews.

The two officers were not in uniform when they allegedly consumed the weed edibles, but were on duty, the source said.

CityNews has learned one of the officers is Const. Vittorio Dominelli. He and another officer allegedly consumed the marijuana at 13 Division, located near Allen Road and Eglinton Avenue West.

But the buzz was anything but mellow. Instead, the officers began to hallucinate, with one of them eventually putting out a distress call for help. One of the responding officers slipped on ice and had to be treated for a head injury, while both the intoxicated officers were treated at hospital.

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said he was aware of the allegations and police spokesperson Mark Pugash said two officers from 13 Division are being investigated by the Professional Standard’s Unit, but he wouldn’t say what for.

Doug Ford to run for leader of Ontario PC Party

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2018


Doug Ford is running for leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

In a brief statement on Monday afternoon, Ford said “I can’t watch the party I love, fall into the hands of the elite.”

“I’m here to give a voice to the hard-working taxpayers of this province. People who have been ignored for far too long,” Ford said.

Last September, Ford announced that he would be throwing his hat into the Toronto mayoral election this year to continue his brother’s legacy and take on current mayor John Tory.

This isn’t the first time Ford’s name has come up in provincial politics. In 2014, Ford announced that he wouldn’t be running in the provincial election, but instead would be helming his brother’s re-election campaign for mayor.

A Forum research poll released on Friday found that Ford and Christine Elliot were favourites to replace former PC Leader Patrick Brown.

Last week, the Tories picked Vic Fedeli has their interim leader following Brown’s resignation after allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct.

Mayor Tory’s name has also been dropped when it comes to potential candidates to head the provincial PCs.

The Ontario PCs will select a new leader sometime before March, ahead of the spring election.

Bruce McArthur now facing 5 first-degree murder charges; police discover dismembered human remains in Leaside

Brendan O'Mahony | posted Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2018


Accused serial killer Bruce McArthur has been charged with three more counts of first-degree murder and investigators believe there are still more victims, Toronto police said at a news conference Monday morning.

The three latest victims have been identified as Majeed Kayhan, 58, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Dean Lisowick, 47.

McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, was arrested on Jan. 18 and previously charged with two counts of first-degree murder in relation to the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen.

“The city of Toronto has never seen anything like this”

Police say they recovered the remains of three individuals from a home on Mallory Crescent, a property in Leaside used by McArthur to store landscaping equipment, but the remains have not been identified and it’s unclear if they’re connected to the five victims.

“Right now, where we’ve recovered the bodies, are from large planters and they’ve been hidden in the bottom of these planters, so we’ve seized quite a few planters from around the city,” Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga said in a news conference this morning.

“They can’t be identified because they are skeletal remains and they have been dismembered so we have to wait for DNA tests… before we can identify those remains.”

McArthur worked at approximately 30 properties in Toronto and police have searched the majority of them.

There are at least two sites that police intend to excavate where more remains may be buried, but Idsinga did not say where those properties are located.

“I have no idea how many more [victims] there are going to be.”

Idsinga also said police have interviewed McArthur but would not get into specifics about how those interviews went.

Police have looked into the possibility he had an accomplice but there is no evidence to suggest he acted with somebody else.

“It’s… an alleged serial killer, and he’s taken some steps to cover his tracks, and we have to uncover these victims and identify these victims and hopefully get some good news, or some closing news, to these families,” Idsinga said.

Police identified McArthur as a potential person of interest in the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman in September 2017. “Further steps were taken between September and January 2018 to investigate Mr. McArthur. Public safety was always our top priority,” Idsinga said.

“We don’t know how many more victims there are going to be, but it certainly encompasses more than the gay community, it encompasses the city of Toronto.”

Hop-on, hop-off TTC transfer to be part of city’s 2018 budget

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2018


Most of us have been there — you take the TTC for a quick errand, hop off for a few minutes and then get right back on, having to pay another fare for the quick trip.

But Mayor John Tory announced Monday that some long awaited relief is on the way for busy transit riders, with hop-on-hop-off transfers on the TTC being included in Toronto’s 2018 budget.

The proposed time-based transfer would give transit riders two hours to hop off and then back on to a bus, streetcar or subway on a single fare. It’s aimed at giving people the option to run errands or make quick stops on their way to and from home, work or school. The program will cost $11 million and is set to roll out by August.

Tory says the program will make life more affordable and increase ridership. “It gives people flexibility and gives them options at no additional expense,” he said.

Other TTC initiatives in the city’s 2018 budget include: a fare freeze, adding elevators to more stations and working towards the implementation of a ‘Fair Fare Pass’ — likely a discounted pass for those who cannot afford to take transit at it’s current prices.

York-Bay-Yonge ramp opens after reconstruction

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jan 29th, 2018


The new York-Bay-Yonge exit ramp was officially opened Sunday afternoon, bringing some relief to drivers on the eastbound Gardiner Expressway into the city.

After nine months of demolition and reconstruction, drivers will once again be able to access Lower Simcoe and Harbour Street from the Gardiner.

Another part of the major overhaul that began last April included widening Harbour Street from three to four lanes between Lower Simcoe to Bay Street.

The $30 million project was part of the $700 million investment made by the City in 2017 to upgrade and renew aging infrastructure in the Toronto.

The new ramp features automated anti-icing spray technology – a first for the city. The system relies on weather and road condition data to determine when to apply a special biodegradable solution to the ramp’s surface, to prevent the formation of ice.

Mayor John Tory was on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the ramp, along with Jaye Robinson, chair of the city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

The final touches will be completed in the spring, when the weather improves and will include permanent traffic lights, the final coat of asphalt and installation of planters and other streetscape elements on Harbour Street.

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