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Week of August 31, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Aug 28th, 2015

Coming up on Breakfast Television this week:

Be sure to tune in Monday as we will be live at Ryerson University checking out orientation as students head back to school.

On Wednesday, Alan Thicke stops by the BT studios.

And to end off the week Friday, Jenn will be live at The CNE air-show. 

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app for iOS and Android!


Best of BT Weekend: August 28, 2015

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Aug 28th, 2015

How to avoid the Freshman 15

Rose Reisman chats about how you can avoid gaining weight at post-secondary school.

411 on tomatoes

Frankie Flowers gives us the 411 on tomatoes–how to pick, maintain, and eat them!

Dorm room ideas

Pay Chen shows us dorm room ideas for food-loving frosh.

Backpack hacks: your list of essentials

Cityline | posted Thursday, Aug 27th, 2015

Apart from the notebooks and binders, what else does your child need to have packed when walking through the classroom door? These backpack essentials are items you might not think of at first, but can be incredibly useful for your child throughout the year. Keep in mind that you don’t want to overload the backpack to the point where it gets too heavy! Look for the following items in travel-sized packages, and bring your kids with you when you shop so they can pick out their favourite colours.

Tissues: Not only are tissues great for cold season, they can also be used for cleaning up spills or when your child’s allergies act up. Look for travel packs at your local drugstore or grocery store.

Hand sanitizer: Everyone knows that germs spread quick, especially at school. Apart from making sure your kids are washing their hands, give them a travel-sized hand sanitizer for the bus or for field trips.

Pencil case: This one is inevitable for school! Make sure you aren’t forgetting a pencil sharpener or extra lead if need be.

Emergency change: It might be a good idea to pack an emergency change pouch, in case your child runs out of bus tickets or forgets their lunch at home.

Hair elastics: Extra hair elastics are useful for pulling your hair back for gym class, keeping together loose Tupperware, or as a makeshift key chain in case your child’s breaks.

EpiPen: If your children have allergies, make sure they have an EpiPen on hand, or any other medications they may need to take at school.

Water bottle: Drinking water is important for your daily health! Pack a water bottle for your child to help promote drinking water regularly (plus, a reusable bottle is the best choice for the environment!).

Do you have a backpack essential not listed here? Post it in the comments below!

We warned you: ‘Weekend’ road closures start Thursday

CityNews | posted Thursday, Aug 27th, 2015

Don’t say we didn’t warn you. A large portion of Yonge Street in the city’s downtown core will be off-limits to drivers starting Thursday morning and over the weekend for Buskerfest.

On Saturday and Sunday, there will also be road closures for a Tamil festival in Scarborough, and an intersection closure until Monday morning in East York due to construction.

Add to that a partial subway shutdown for TTC work, and you’ve got yourself a busy weekend in the city.


Yonge Street, from Queen to College streets, will be closed from 9:30 a.m. on Thursday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Some lane closures will take place on Yonge between Richmond and College from 5 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

From Thursday to Sunday, some local streets will be closed including Dundas Square Street, and Walton, Gould, Edward and Elm streets.

Toronto Tamil Festival
Morningside Avenue will be closed from Finch Avenue East to Neilson Road from 6 a.m. on Saturday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Road work

East York construction
The intersection of Don Mills Road and O’Connor Drive will be closed in all directions from Friday at 7 p.m. to Monday at 6 a.m. for road resurfacing and sidewalk.

Two ramps from the Don Valley Parkway to southbound Don Mills Road will also be closed.

TTC buses will be diverted in the area.

TTC closure

Line 1 partial shutdown
Subways won’t be running on a portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) between St Clair West and Downsview stations due to track and signal upgrades.

The TTC will be running replacement buses along the affected route. Regular subway service resumes at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Reporter, cameraman shot to death on live television in Virginia; gunman dies at hospital

The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Aug 27th, 2015

A TV reporter and cameraman were shot to death during a live television interview Wednesday by a gunman who recorded himself carrying out the killings and posted the video on social media after fleeing the scene.

Authorities identified the suspect as a journalist who had been fired from the station earlier this year. Hours later and hundreds of miles away, he crashed a vehicle and troopers found him suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He died at a hospital later Wednesday, authorities said.

The shots rang out on-air as reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were presenting a local tourism story at an outdoor shopping mall. Viewers saw her scream and run, and she could be heard saying “Oh my God,” as she fell. Ward fell, too, and the camera he had been holding on his shoulder captured a fleeting image of the suspect holding a handgun.

Warning: The video below depicts the shooting that happened live on air.

WDBJ quickly switched back to the anchor at the station, her eyes large and jaw dropping as she said, “OK, not sure what happened there.” The station later went live again, reporting on their own station and staff as the story developed.

Parker and Ward were killed as the gunman fired about 15 shots. Their interview subject, Vicki Gardner, was in stable condition later Wednesday after surgery for her wounds.

The suspect is Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, of Roanoke, the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. The station said Flanagan appeared on air as Bryce Williams.

Jeffrey Marks, WDBJ’s president and general manager, said Flanagan had to be escorted by police out of the station when he was fired. Marks described him as “an unhappy man” and “difficult to work with,” always “looking out for people to say things he could take offence to.”

“Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well,” Marks explained.


Video of the shooting was later posted on the suspect’s Twitter account and Facebook page. It showed an outstretched arm holding the handgun and firing repeatedly at Parker as she tried to run away.

The shooter appeared to walk up to the victims and stand nearby from them while holding the weapon. They were in the midst of a live TV interview, and didn’t seem to notice the gunman, who didn’t start shooting until Ward points the camera at Parker and the interviewee.

Posts on Flanagan’s Twitter account indicated that he filmed the shooting and posted it on Facebook. The tweets were also about both Parker and Ward. See the tweets below.

virginiashooting-tweets virginiashooting-video-screengrab

Parker is heard screaming and is seen running away as shots are fired. Roughly 15 shots can be heard, including several that were fired after the video goes dark.

ABC News reported on its website that the network received a 23-page fax from someone claiming to be Flanagan. The network says the fax was turned over to authorities and did not elaborate on its contents.

Federal law enforcement was assisting, and federal officials said there was no indication of a connection to terrorism.

The shooting happened around 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County, as Parker interviewed Vicki Gardner about the upcoming 50th anniversary festivities for Smith Mountain Lake, a local tourism destination. Gardner also was shot and hospitalized.

Loved ones and station in shock

Both the victims were romantically involved with other employees at the station, according to Parker’s boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst.

Parker had just turned 24. She had just completed a special report on child abuse for the station, where she had worked as an intern. She attended James Madison University, where she was the editor of the school’s newspaper, The Breeze. According to her Facebook page, Parker spent most of her life outside Martinsville, Va. She was an avid kayaker and attended community theatre events in her spare time.

Hurst said they hadn’t shared their relationship publicly but “were very much in love.” He said they had just moved in together and wanted to get married. “I am numb,” he said.

Ward, 27, graduated from Virginia Tech University and was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott, said WDBJ spokesman Mike Morgan.

“Adam was our go-to guy. He pretty much was available to do anything that we asked,” Morgan said. “He did live shots during our morning show for several years.”

“I cannot tell you how much they were loved. Alison and Adam,” Marks said on-air. “Our hearts are broken.”

The station is based in Roanoke and serves the southwest and central part of the state. The shopping mall where the incident happened is just off Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, about 40 kilometres southeast of Roanoke.

Police have told employees of the station to stay inside the building as long as the suspect is on the loose. About 50 people work there, Marks said.

“We have police protection,” Marks said.

With files from News Staff

10 healthy school lunch ideas

Today's Parent | posted Tuesday, Aug 25th, 2015

This lunch combines two of kids’ loves: waffles and bacon for one surprising sandwich. When packing, place pieces of waxed paper or foil between all layers to keep them fresh and wrap sandwich in parchment. Pack mayo separately in its own mini squirt bottle. Before eating, remove waxed paper or foil and squirt mayo onto waffle.

Get the recipe: BLT Waffle-Wich> 

Bet you didn’t know how easy it is to make your own fruit leather. With only four simple ingredients, this one is more nutritious and super fun to pack.

Get the recipe: Blueberry-Apple Fruit Leather>

For more healthy school lunch ideas click here.

Teacher confessions: 5 things parents should never do

Today's Parent | posted Monday, Aug 24th, 2015

When my kid started Junior kindergarten last year, it took me weeks (OK, months) to send in a family photo for his teacher to hang in his cubby. For some reason, I just couldn’t get it together to print off a picture from my smartphone. Turns out I’m one of those moms: the friendly type who wants her child’s teacher to like her, but who actually makes the job difficult by neglecting to meet a simple request.

Read more: School lunches: Fun printable meal planner>

I’m not alone either: There are hordes of parents out there who inadvertently annoy their children’s teachers. Some are borderline neurotic, obsessing over which type of glue stick will get their little one into Harvard, while others are a bit too lax, sending their kid to school in flip-flops on gym day. While we all have the best of intentions, here are five ways to avoid aggravating your child’s teacher and get off on the right foot this school year.

1. Save the socializing

We all want to connect with our child’s teacher, but guess what? She doesn’t need a new BFF. Don’t take it personally—you are indeed warm and fabulous—but she has a job to do and that job is to teach your kid. Even just a friendly, “How was your weekend?” first thing Monday morning can throw off the entire day’s schedule.

“When parents socialize with me during drop-off, it’s transition time and one of the most difficult periods of the day—often I’ll have 15 kids waiting for my attention,” says Jennifer Sullivan,* a teacher at a Toronto school. “There are some moms I really love, but I don’t have time to schmooze. Remember: Everything with us is ruled by bells and minutes.”

Read more: What to do when you don’t like your child’s teacher>

Sullivan once had a parent volunteer in the classroom who insisted on debriefing after each visit. “I let her know how much I appreciate that she comes in every week, but that I have 25 kids waiting for me. When she didn’t get the hint, I finally had to say, ‘Why don’t you stick around and talk to me at lunch or let’s connect another time,’” says Sullivan. Ultimately, she ended up avoiding this parent altogether. “I’d either rush by or say, ‘Hey, I’m just going to get some photocopies done.’ It’s uncomfortable.”

That’s not to say you can’t be friendly with your child’s teacher. By all means, say hello, share a smile. But know your boundaries. You’re working together to give your child the best possible educational experience, not to tag each other on Facebook.

2. Abide by the rules (yes, you!)

Turns out there are many grown-ups out there who don’t believe the rules apply to them (and we wonder where our kidsget it from). Natasha Sweeny* teaches grade four at a school that has a “kiss ’n’ ride” system to help with traffic flow during drop-off. She can still recall the time a parent stopped in a no-parking zone. “She insisted she had the right to stop there and went ballistic, calling the teacher on duty every name in the book in front of students and parents,” she says. “We had to get the police involved to make it clear that parents need to follow the rules.” Remember, you’re not the exception. That means no parking in the staff lot on those days you’re running late and have a super-important meeting to get to (this happened once at my kids’ school and a teacher was forced to park on the street and then got towed).

Read more: How to get the teacher you want>

Similarly, Sweeny is surprised by the number of parents who completely dismiss the school’s safety policies. She says doors remained locked during the day and visitors need to buzz in, then sign in and get a badge from the office before they’re allowed in the hallways. “It’s a clear rule for a really good reason. But there are always parents—often they’re on the board or volunteers with a sense of entitlement—who sneak in behind students, then stand outside the classroom waiting to give their child a forgotten lunch. It’s ridiculous! Even I have to be buzzed in every day.”

3. Stop sniping about summer

Do not tell your child’s teacher, “Must be nice to have had the summer off!” Instead, try something like “I hope you’re refreshed and ready for 10 months of go, go, go!” Yes, we all work hard at our jobs and we’d all love some downtime during the summer months. But, please, keep the passive-aggressive comments to yourself, and remember that teaching is a profession like few others. “I don’t work in an office,” says Sullivan, “I can’t take five minutes to breathe when I have a splitting headache. I don’t get to go to my own kids’ school concerts or even answer the phone when their school nurse calls. My priority is keeping your kids safe.” Not to mention that a lot of teachers spend their summers upgrading their credentials or planning coursework. In other words, be happy your child’s teacher is coming back re-energized and ready to focus on the year ahead.

4. Take a chill pill

While it’s good to be prepared for the school year, don’t stress over the little things. Kindergarten teacher Olivia Davidson* says there are always one or two parents who are overly anxious about their child starting school. Before the start of the year, she sends parents a list of supplies to buy. One mother responded with a slew of urgent emails bordering on the neurotic: “I’m at the drugstore. There are lots of different sizes of glue. Which one exactly do you want? Big or small? I’m so nervous, what if I get the wrong one?”

“She bombarded me with emails—and this was in August!” says Davidson. “I’m a mother myself, and so I get it, but this woman showed up with three different types of glue.”

Read more: Preschool: Teaching proper pencil grip>

5. Don’t be a slacker

On the other end of the spectrum are the overly lax parents who make teachers’ jobs harder because they can’t be bothered to send in forms or basic writing utensils. My own kids’ principal told me that she has parents of anaphylactic children who don’t even send in an extra EpiPen like they ask for (just a matter of life or death, no big deal). Davidson asks each new kindergartener to come to school with an extra set of clothes in a labeled zip-top bag in case they have an accident or get wet during recess. “Parents think their kids won’t have an accident, but it’s very common in kindergarten,” says Davidson. “We’ll send them home in stuff from the lost and found bin, then parents will freak that they’re not in their own clothes!’”

Last year, of the 11 children in her class, four had still not sent in sunscreen by May, as requested (because of allergies, Davidson says she’s not allowed to apply sunscreen on a child unless it’s labelled with their name). “One kid got burnt while playing outside during recess—I felt like the worst teacher, but there was really nothing I could do,” she recalls. “Everyone’s busy, I get that. However, take two minutes, get some sunscreen, write your kid’s name on it and and shove it into her bag.”

Read more: Kindergarten: How to handle first day jitters>

Of course, this last comment made me realize there are really no excuses when it comes to basic tasks, such as sending in gym clothes or—ahem—a family photo. And after volunteering at my child’s end-of-year class trip in June, which meant helping to supervise 22 rambunctious five-year-olds, I was reminded of how hard teachers work day in and day out. The least we can do is follow some simple rules to ease the load.

Other pet peeves:

* Parents who freak out over class placement. Not everybody can get the teacher they think they want. You might be surprised: Another teacher might bring something unexpected to the table.

* Deciding that the best time to discuss major issues is during drop-off instead of setting up a meeting.

* Families who show up late to school because they think punctuality isn’t important, especially in kindergarten or when first period is physical education.

* names have been changed

The version of this article appeared in our September 2014 issue with the headline “Teacher Tell-All,” p. 53.

One Direction to take indefinite break in March: report

Associated Press | posted Monday, Aug 24th, 2015

A spokesman for One Direction is declining to comment on a report that the chart-topping boy band will take an indefinite break starting next March.

Publicist Simon Jones says he won’t comment on “speculation.”

The Sun newspaper reported Monday that band members would go separate ways after finishing a tour this autumn and promoting their fifth album.

One Direction formed in 2010 after five teenagers – Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik – auditioned individually for the British TV talent show The X Factor. Simon Cowell had the idea of putting them together as a boy band.

Speculation about a split grew after Malik quit the group earlier this year.

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