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Pre-order beer coming to The Beer Store

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jun 28th, 2016

The Beer Store has announced that beer drinkers will now be able to pre-order and pay for their favourite brewski ahead of time.

The new application called Beer Xpress is the “new faster way to get your beer at the Beer Store.”

Launching of Beer Xpress will take place on Wednesday where more details will be unveiled at the Mississauga location.

A faster way to get your beer (CNW Group/The Beer Store)

Ron MacLean to host Hockey Night in Canada, with David Amber

Sportsnet | posted Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

Ron MacLean is returning to host Hockey Night in Canada, alongside David Amber, Sportsnet announced Monday.

MacLean will host Game 1 on Saturday nights with Amber hosting Game 2.

MacLean will continue to host Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry in the first intermission of Game 1. Following his hosting duties on Saturday nights, MacLean will head out to 24 communities across the country to host Rogers Hometown Hockey on Sundays throughout the season.

“The impact (MacLean) has had on the game and in communities across the country is immeasurable. Hockey fans, young and old, have a deep connection with him,” said Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties, Rogers.

Amber has been a reporter with Hockey Night in Canada for the past five years. He has nearly 20 years of sports broadcast experience, including eight years as anchor and reporter with ESPN, as well as covering four Olympic Games and a two-year stint hosting NHL On The Fly. He will also contribute to Saturday’s pre-game show.

“(Amber) is one of the top sports broadcasters in North America, with a long and impressive resume from both sides of the border.” said Moore. “He’s earned this coveted role. With Ron and David at the helm, it’s the perfect mix for hockey’s biggest night.”

After hosting Hockey Night in Canada for the past two seasons, George Stroumboulopoulos will depart the company to explore new creative opportunities.

“(Stroumboulopoulos) is an extremely versatile and creative broadcaster and we value the contributions he made to Hockey Night in Canada. We look forward to seeing what his next great project will be,” said Moore. “We are continually evaluating and evolving our broadcasts to deliver the best experience for fans.”

Panelists Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey, and Nick Kypreos join MacLean and Amber in-studio Saturday nights. Daren Millard continues to hostScotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey, alongside panelists Friedman and Doug MacLean.

“As part of our evolution, we will deliver more consistency each night of the week for our national NHL broadcasts. When fans tune in, they will know who they are going to see,” said Moore.

More details regarding Sportsnet’s 2016-17 NHL coverage will be announced in the coming weeks.

How to give your older kid more freedom

Lisa Kadane | posted Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

On summer days, my 10-year-old daughter, Avery, often rides her bike by herself or plays at the park with friends, unsupervised. Come September, she’ll walk the three blocks home from her Calgary school alone, or she’ll leave with a gaggle of grade-five kids to attend an after-school program.

Avery delights in her growing freedom and especially loves inventing games with a neighbourhood posse. It’s a chance for them to make up and enforce the rules without adults present to impose limits on their fun.

The benefits of unsupervised, unstructured play are well-documented. “Kids need practice making decisions, coming up with something to do and getting themselves out of boredom, and that practice comes when they are in charge of themselves and their activities,” says Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry). This kind of independent free time also gives kids a chance to problem solve, compromise and communicate with other children across ages and genders, she says.

Is my child ready? The best gauge might simply be your child’s eagerness. Jennifer Pinarski considered her eight-year-old son’s pleas for independence based on his enthusiasm alone. “Isaac’s been begging me to go bike riding by himself for a long time,” says the mother of two, who lives in a rural area outside Kingston, Ont. Isaac already uses public bathrooms by himself and plays unsupervised on the family’s one-acre property. So this summer Pinarski is preparing Isaac to ride the 2.9 kilometres to school with a 10-year-old friend when he starts grade four. They practise paying attention, and looking and listening for traffic.

But there are no definitive signs of readiness for this milestone. Jennifer Vadeboncoeur, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia in the area of human development, learning and culture, says readiness comes down to the child, the family and their values, and ultimately, the neighbourhood. For example, some parks simply aren’t safe because of criminal activity. If that’s your reality, look for other ways to foster your child’s independence. “Maybe it’s being dropped off at the community centre and meeting a friend to take a class,” says Vadeboncoeur. Giving a big kid more freedom can also mean trusting him to babysit a sibling or fly solo in the kitchen.

Prepare them: There’s not much more to it than teaching your child how to cross a street safely and making sure she knows the route to and from her destination, says Skenazy.

You can also ease into it. With Avery, we started gradually. First we let her walk the dog, then go to a friend’s house, and it grew naturally from there. And we of course had the “strangers” talk. Skenazy says it’s important to teach children that they can talk to strangers—kids might get lost or hurt and need help—but not go off with them.

“My boys know not to help a stranger find a puppy,” agrees Calgary mom Robin Meckelborg. Her 14-year-old son, Tyler, took a babysitting course and a Strangers and Dangers workshop through Child Safe Canada, which puts her mind at ease when Tyler and his 10-year-old brother, Kohen, are playing at the park or riding bikes. The brothers started walking to school together when Tyler was 10 and Kohen was seven, and their boundaries have expanded as they’ve grown and proved their competence.

What if something happens? Tyler and Kohen know to stay and wait for help or ask a stranger for help if someone gets hurt. “They’ve been taught not to leave a man down,” says Meckelborg, who also sends them with a cellphone if they’re going further afield. Meckelborg says letting go was hard at first, but she’s so glad she did it. “It’s good for them to get a sense of how to behave in public spaces without our guidance,” she says. “They have the freedom to make their own decisions.”

Fire breaks out on Toronto Islands, no injuries

CityNews | posted Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

Fire crews responded to a fire on the Toronto Islands and said no injuries were reported.

Crews received a call for the fire around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The blaze was said to be near the Mermaid Cafe and about 400 metres south of Hanlan’s Ferry dock.

It is not known how the fire started at this time.

Fire crews responded to a blaze on Toronto Island. REDDIT/User

Changes to controversial autism plan in the works, new minister says

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

Ontario’s new minister in charge of the autism file says changes are in the works following the controversial revamp of the treatment program announced earlier this year.

Michael Coteau was brought in to put a fresh face on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services after his predecessor, Tracy MacCharles, was moved out of the portfolio – the only major demotion in the recent cabinet shuffle.

MacCharles and Premier Kathleen Wynne had hinted that they were considering tweaking the transition to the new program, but Coteau is signalling that he is looking even more broadly, to not just the transition plan, but the program itself.

“I hope to be in a place quite shortly where we can come forward with several recommendations for changes,” he said in an interview. “I think that there will be elements of both areas that I’d like to focus on.”

The Liberal government has announced, as part of a new Ontario Autism Program rolling out in 2018, that it will stop funding Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) for kids five and older, instead transitioning them to “enhanced Applied Behavioural Analysis” (ABA) treatment.

Related stories:

Video: Government stance on autism changes contradicted

Wynne leaves door open to changing implementation of autism program

Reduction in autism treatments putting children at risk, critics say

Changes in IBI autism funding doubly destructive for Toronto family

In the meantime, families of the 835 children removed from the wait list were given $8,000 to pay for private treatment, but parents say that will only pay for, at most, a few months of intensive therapy.

The changes have angered parents, whose children spent years on the IBI waiting list, only to be abruptly removed.

They have protested at the legislature four times in as many months, and have waged a relentless social media campaign. Coteau already had hundreds of tweets directed at him by the end of the day he was named as minister.

“It’s their children…so they’re very passionate, very concerned,” he said. “Anything that’s mentioned on Twitter or Facebook, it’s just going to help us land in a better place because you can understand where their concerns are and what’s driving the challenges they face.”

The parents’ main demand is for the government to reverse the age five cut-off. The Liberals’ messaging has been that the new program will deliver a flexible amount of service to kids since they are at various places on the autism spectrum, and will end what they say is an artificial distinction between IBI and ABA – one is a more intensive form of the other.

Communicating the changes to parents has been one of the main issues, Coteau said.

“I believe half of the challenge that we’ve had in the past is that parents didn’t know what the next step was,” he said. “We need to be very clear on, ‘This is what’s going to happen next.”‘

Coteau also said the length of the transition to the new program is a “big problem.”

“It was quite easy to identify at the very beginning that two years is too long,” he said. “I am 100 per cent convinced that we can get to a place where people can be happy.”

Montreal dad enlists squirrels to help pull daughter’s loose tooth

John Marchesan | posted Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

When I was 12-years-old, my mother used some dental floss and a bathroom door to help me pull a stubborn tooth.

At the time, I thought that was the craziest thing ever attempted to pull a tooth.

That was until I saw what David Freiheit recently did to extract a tooth from the mouth of his six-year-old daughter.

As captured on YouTube, Freiheit took his daughter Mila to Montreal’s Westmount Park last Wednesday to see if he could coax a squirrel into playing dentist for a day.

Armed with dental floss, some granola and a box of tissues, Freiheit tied the floss to his daughter’s tooth while tying the other end to a piece of granola. He turned on the camera and the rest is nothing short of dental extraction history.

The video has had close to 130,000 views since being posted.

This is not the first time Freiheit has attempted a unique way to pull teeth. In August of 2015, he used a drone to perform a similar extraction on his daughter’s loose tooth.

Can’t wait to see what Freiheit has planned when his daughter has to have her wisdom teeth pulled!

Mother stands up for son in heartfelt Facebook letter

Betty Wondimu | posted Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

A B.C. mother penned a sincere open letter to parents everywhere on Facebook on behalf of her son Sawyer.

Jennifer Engele, of Langley, posted to Facebook Thursday after she learned Sawyer was the only child in his class who didn’t receive an invitation to a classmate’s birthday party.

I want you to know that we don’t have an expectation of being invited to every birthday party,” she wrote. “I know if you knew more about Down Syndrome you wouldn’t have made this decision. I am not mad at you. Rather, I think this is an opportunity for you to get to know my son better.

Engele’s letter, which has been shared over 2500 times, continues on to delicately explain her son’s condition. She even wrote she was also once “scared, uncertain and misinformed” about Down Syndrome before having her son.

“I’m really proud that my letter has reached so many people because it’s not just this birthday party and it’s not just Sawyer. There are so many kids with special needs (and without of course) that just don’t make the cut.

“Maybe you are struggling with the words to say to your child because your child did not want my son at their birthday party. Maybe you let your child decide that it was OK to single someone out. I know it can be difficult to teach our children about something we may not understand ourselves. I struggle with this as well. But this is a great opportunity and life lesson to have with your child,” Engele wrote.

“As parents, we want our children to be liked, to have friends, and to not be left behind. And how we do this is by setting examples ourselves and encouraging them to make choices that they might not be old enough to fully comprehend.”

Fortunately, the unfortunate exclusion was resolved the next day. The parent of the child hosting the birthday party reconsidered their decision, spoke to their son or daughter about Sawyer and decided to create a special invitation for him. Engele wrote Sawyer has been beaming ever since.

“I’m really proud that my letter has reached so many people because it’s not just this birthday party and its not just Sawyer. There are so many kids with special needs (and without of course) that just don’t make the cut. I think as parents we all need to do a better job of fostering these relationships, myself included,” she wrote.

East-end Toronto house catches fire after van crashes through it

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 24th, 2016

A house in Toronto’s east end caught on fire after a van crashed through it early on Friday morning.

An alleged drunk driver was reportedly speeding when he lost control and crashed into the house at Ellesmere and Kennedy roads just before 4 a.m.

The house, which somehow caught fire, has extensive damage.

A family was inside but they were not injured.

Police found the driver hiding in a nearby mall’s garbage area.

He has minor injuries.

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