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Reliability issues force TTC to suspend further installation of PRESTO fare gates

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Mar 16th, 2018

The Toronto Transit Commission is suspending the installation of the remaining PRESTO fare gates in order to correct several reliability issues.

The TTC says it needs to replace approximately 2,000 motors due to what it calls “significant reliability issues” which have occurred with the new fare gates.

Fare gate contractor, Scheidt & Bachmann, will be replacing the motors which control the paddle mechanism associated with each gate. As well, there are issues with the software and operating systems which control the internal mechanism of the gates.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green says so far, 800 gates have been installed and are in service across the system. Another 100 have been installed but have yet to be put into service while another 100 have yet to be installed.

Green says in any given month, only about five per cent of the gates are down but when they go down, they go down for significant periods of time.

“We have so many gates at one station and to have one or two of them down for any length of time is a real inconvenience.”

Green says it’s uncertain how the delays and fixes will impact the final roll out of the PRESTO fare gates. The TTC started installing gates in 2016 and had hoped to have construction completed at all stations, including Union, by June 2018.

Green stresses the TTC will not be on the hook for any of the costs as it’s all part of their service contract.

While the problem with the gates is not directly related to the PRESTO tap fare system, it’s all part of the gate function mechanism.

“All of the ways that PRESTO integrates with the gates – the mechanism of the gates, the software that controls the gates – all of those need to be looked at and wherever those deficiencies exist need to be addressed,” said Green.

Autistic man assaulted in Mississauga; suspects sought

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

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Peel police are asking for the public’s help with the investigation into a “vicious assault” on an autistic man in Mississauga.

Police responded to a call for a violent assault at the Square One bus terminal at around 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old victim was reportedly sitting on the stairs of the lower level of the terminal when he was approached by three men. The men allegedly surrounded the victim and punched and kicked him several times. They then fled the scene.

The victim was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Police have released video as well as photos of the suspects.

All three suspects are described as South Asian males, five-feet-ten-inches tall.

The first suspect has a light complexion and a thin build with a dark, short beard and straight, black hair above the ears. He was wearing a black t-shirt with an Air Jordan logo and white lettering with black track pants and black shoes.

The second suspect is described as clean shaven with a light complexion and thin build. He is wearing a black jackets with a greay horizontal stripe across the chest and a grey vertical stripe along the hood along with black track pants and black shoes.

The third suspect is unshaven with a medium complexion and medium build. He is wearing a black hoodie with a Nike logo on the front and Nike lettering along the sleeves with black track pants and black shoes.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

Suspected drunk driver arrested after woman hit near U of T

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

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A suspected drunk driver is in custody after a 21-year-old woman was struck by a vehicle near the University of Toronto.

Police say the woman was hit while crossing the street at a marked crosswalk in the Huron and College streets area around 2:30 a.m. Thursday. The driver was going the wrong way on Huron at the time.

She was rushed to hospital, where she remains with life-threatening injuries.

The driver fled the scene, but police located the SUV in the Spadina Road and Eglinton Avenue area of Forest Hill.

The 19-year-old driver has been arrested, but there is no word yet on charges.

College is closed in both directions between Spadina and Huron for the investigation.

‘Enough is enough’: U.S. students stage walkouts against guns

Colin Binkley, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

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Declaring enough is enough, tens of thousands of young people from Maine to Alaska walked out of school to demand action on gun violence Wednesday in one of the biggest student protests since the Vietnam era.

Braving snow in New England and threats of school discipline in places like Georgia and Ohio, they carried signs with messages such as “Am I next?,” railed against the National Rifle Association and bowed their heads in memory of the 17 dead in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“We’re sick of it,” said Maxwell Nardi, a senior at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico, Virginia, just outside Richmond. “We’re going to keep fighting, and we’re not going to stop until Congress finally makes resolute changes.”

Around the nation, students left class at 10 a.m. local time for at least 17 minutes — one minute for each of the dead in Florida. At some schools, students didn’t go outside but lined the hallways, gathered in gyms and auditoriums or wore orange, the colour used by the movement against gun violence.

Over and over, students declared that too many young people have died and that they are tired of going to school every day afraid of getting killed.

“Enough is enough. People are done with being shot,” said Iris Foss-Ober, 18, a senior at Washburn High School in Minneapolis.

Some schools applauded students for taking a stand or at least tolerated the walkouts, while others threatened punishment.

Protesters called for such measures as tighter background checks on gun purchases and a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the Florida bloodbath.

As the demonstrations unfolded, the NRA responded by posting a photo on Twitter of a black rifle emblazoned with an American flag. The caption: “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.”

Walkouts interrupted the day at schools from the elementary level through college, and at some that have witnessed their own mass shootings. About 250 students gathered on a soccer field at Colorado’s Columbine High, while students who survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack in 2012 walked out of Newtown High School in Connecticut.

Students at several schools assembled on sports fields and arranged themselves into hearts, peace signs or the word “Enough.” At other schools, students spent the 17 minutes writing letters to lawmakers or registering classmates to vote.

At Eagle Rock High in Los Angeles, teenagers a moment of silence as they gathered around a circle of 17 chairs labeled with the names of the Florida victims.

In joining the protests, the students followed the example set by many of the survivors of the Florida shooting, who have become gun-control activists, leading rallies, lobbying legislators and giving TV interviews. Their efforts helped spur passage last week of a Florida law curbing access to assault rifles by young people.

But whether they can make a difference on Capitol Hill remains to be seen. Congress has shown little inclination to tighten gun laws, and President Donald Trump backed away from his initial support for raising the minimum age for buying an assault rifle to 21.

Another protest against gun violence is scheduled in Washington on March 24, with organizers saying it is expected to draw hundreds of thousands.

A spokeswoman for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said DeVos “gives a lot credit to the students who are raising their voices and demanding change.”

“She hears them, and their input will be valuable as she convenes the Federal Commission on School Safety and works to find solutions to keeping all students safe at school,” spokeswoman Liz Hill said.

Historians said the demonstrations were shaping up to be one of the largest youth protests in decades.

“It seems like it’s going to be the biggest youth-oriented and youth-organized protest movements going back decades, to the early ’70s at least,” said David Farber a history professor at the University of Kansas who has studied social change movements.

“Young people are that social media generation, and it’s easy to mobilize them in a way that it probably hadn’t been even 10 years ago.”

The co-ordinated protests Wednesday were organized by Empower, the youth wing of the Women’s March, which brought thousands to Washington last year.

In the nation’s capital, more than 2,000 high-school age protesters observed the 17 minutes of silence by sitting on the ground with their backs turned to the White House as a church bell tolled. The president was out of town.

The protesters carried signs with messages such as “Our Blood/Your Hands” and “Never Again” and chanted slogans against the NRA.

In New York City, they chanted, “Enough is enough!” In Salt Lake City, the signs read, “Protect kids not guns,” ”Fear has no place in school” and “Am I next?”

Stoneman Douglas High senior David Hogg, who has emerged as one of the leading student activists, livestreamed the walkout at the tragedy-stricken school on his YouTube channel. He said the students could not be expected to remain in class when there was work to do to prevent gun violence.

“Every one of these individuals could have died that day. I could have died that day,” he said.

At Aztec High School in a rural, gun-friendly part of New Mexico where many enjoy hunting and shooting, students aimed to avoid gun politics and opted for a ceremony honouring students killed in shootings — including two who died in a December attack at Aztec.

“Our kids sit on both ends of the spectrum, and we have a diverse community when it comes to gun rights and gun control,” Principal Warman Hall said.

About 10 students left Ohio’s West Liberty-Salem High School — which witnessed a shooting last year — despite a warning they could face detention or more serious discipline.

Police in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta patrolled Kell High, where students were threatened with unspecified consequences if they participated. Three students walked out anyway.

The walkouts drew support from companies such as media conglomerate Viacom, which paused programming on MTV, BET and its other networks for 17 minutes during the walkouts.

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and Maria Danilova in Washington; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio; Jonathan Drew in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Mike Householder in Detroit; Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia; Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston; Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis; Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Krysta Fauria in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Ryerson University confirms bedbugs were found in classroom

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

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Bedbugs have been found in a classroom at Toronto’s Ryerson University, the school said Wednesday, noting that it was working to exterminate the insects.

A spokeswoman for the downtown university said staff used a canine unit to search two classrooms in its Victoria Building on Tuesday, and found bedbugs in one of the rooms.

“Bedbugs were found in a single desk in VIC 205,” Johanna VanderMaas said in a statement. “VIC 205 was treated with steam immediately.”

VanderMaas said a canine unit will be brought back into the room on Thursday to ensure it is clear of the bedbugs.

“Only once the room is deemed to be clear will students and faculty will be allowed back in,” she said.

The school’s efforts came after a student newspaper, The Eyeopener, published a report of insects found inside tables in a classroom. The paper said it took photos of the bugs and sent them to five exterminators, who all said they were bedbugs.

Jacob Dube, a student who worked on the piece, said Tuesday that Ryerson students reported seeing insects they believed to be bedbugs in a classroom in the school’s Victoria Building as far back as December.

Several students who spotted the insects, including Eyeopener reporter Stefanie Phillips, later said they found what appeared to be bug bites on their skin.

Dube said the university had been receptive to the student newspaper’s reporting, with officials asking the students to show them exactly where the bugs were spotted in order to independently verify their information.

On Tuesday, Ryerson said it was looking into the matter and noted that students had been helpful in bringing their concerns forward.

The university’s campus is located in the downtown core, close to the city’s bustling Yonge-Dundas Square.

Mother, two children dead in Ajax homicide

Daniela Germano and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

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Durham regional police say the 13-year-old girl found critically injured in an Ajax home died in hospital on Wednesday evening.

Const. George Tudos said a man was arrested in Oshawa, Ont., after officers found the bodies of a 39-year-old woman and her 15-year-old son in a home on Hilling Drive. A 13-year-old girl was also found in the home and taken to hospital in critical condition where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Police have not released any names, but said the 29-year-old suspect was believed to have been in a romantic relationship with the woman. Tudos said the man did not live in the home and was not the father of the two children.

Meanwhile, the president of a Toronto minor hockey organization identified the 15-year-old in the incident as Roy Pejcinovski, a star goalie with the major bantam Don Mills Flyers.

Peter MacInnis said Pejcinovski’s death is a “tremendous loss” for the team, which is in the city finals to qualify to represent the Greater Toronto Area for the provincial championship.

“It’s tough for the players on the team, the parents, the staff — he was a great kid,” MacInnis said. “And his buddies on the team are 14 or 15, how do you deal with that?”

MacInnis said the teen was a top player, who had promising prospects in next year’s Ontario Hockey League draft.

“He was an elite athlete, he was absolutely the team’s No. 1 goalie and he has been for several years,” he said, adding that grief counsellors were brought in at Wednesday night’s practice to break the news to Pejcinovski’s teammates.

MacInnis said the Flyers were scheduled to play Friday, but the team has asked the league to postpone the game as players cope with the loss of their goalie.

“There are a whole lot of mixed emotions,” he said. “If it happened in the summer, it would still be a tragedy, but the fact that the team is in the high part of the season, it’s very difficult.”

The team plans to do something in Pejcinovski’s honour, MacInnis said, but details will be discussed later.

Police said the suspect was arrested without incident and is expected make a court appearance Thursday morning, where he will likely be charged with three counts of second-degree murder.

Investigators said police were called to the Ajax home shortly before noon Wednesday after a woman stopped by to check on her friend.

They said a man answered the door, wouldn’t let the woman in and then left the area in a vehicle (pictured below) that was later found abandoned.

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Tudos said he could not provide details on the deaths, but added that a post-mortem is expected Thursday or Friday.

“Right now we are not going to be speaking to any causes of death, any trauma or anything like that to the victims,” he said.

He said the woman had another daughter “who was found safe and sound” and was not at the house at the time of the incident.

Neighbours tell CityNews a mother lived in the home with her son and two daughters, and that the boyfriend was frequently seen at the home.

“I always see him around the house,” one neighbour said. “I worked out a couple of times with him at the gym. Very nice guy. He’s very respectable, but it’s a little too close to home.”

 

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Summer 2018

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

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Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital and production intern for its Summer 2018 term (May through Aug.). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

comments@bttoronto.ca
Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to appear by video in a Toronto court

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2018

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur is expected to appear in a Toronto court today via video.

The 66-year-old self-employed landscaper is charged with the first-degree murder of six men who had ties to the city’s LGBTQ community.

Police have recovered the remains of seven people from planter pots found at a home in midtown Toronto where McArthur worked and stored equipment.

Prosecutor Michael Cantlon told court at McArthur’s last appearance in late February that the Crown would be turning over more evidence today.

Last week, Toronto police took the unusual step of releasing a photograph of a dead man they said was a victim of McArthur’s, saying they needed the public’s help to identify him.

Investigators have been combing through dozens of tips that have come in since then, but the lead detective has said it will take weeks to work through them all.

So far police have identified the remains of three men: Andrew Kinsman, 49, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40.

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