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Toronto police report to gun call, find Terminator cutout

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016

A movie character made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger caused a gun scare in Toronto on Wednesday night.

Police tweeted at about 9 p.m. that they were responding to a call about a man seen with a gun in a neighbourhood near the downtown core.

After scouring the area, police discovered that the man with a gun was actually a cutout of the actor’s character in ‘The Terminator.’

The police tweet read: “Police on scene have located a Terminator cutout holding a gun.”

The tweet also included a nod to Schwarzenegger’s famous catchphrase with the added hashtag “IllBeBack.”

Here comes the humidity: Much of southern Ontario under heat warning

CityNews | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016

A heat warning is in effect for Toronto and most of southern Ontario as the humidex is expected to soar over the next two days.

Environment Canada issued the warning on Wednesday, saying a “heat episode” is expected to begin on Thursday. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach the low 30s with humidex values making it feel like the mid- to upper-30s.

“Very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion,” the national weather agency warned.

Toronto’s acting medical officer of heath, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, also issued a heat warning for the city on Thursday.

In the GTA, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said the high will be 30 C but it will feel like 40 C with the humidity.

The intense heat continues into Friday with a high of 33 C and a humidex near 41, but showers and thunderstorms are in store for the evening.

The warning is expected to come to an end Friday night with the arrival of a cold front.

Tory announces plans for 21-acre park over downtown rail corridor

CityNews | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016

Toronto may be known to many as a city of parks, but the downtown core, with its burgeoning population, has been neglected in that regard.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Mayor John Tory announced the new 21-acre Rail Deck Park, a project meant to remedy that deficiency in a way that’s “bold and innovative, sustainable and surprising.”

The park would be built over the rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way — which would continue to be used by Metrolinx and Via Rail — and connect the neighbourhoods of King-Spadina, City Place and the waterfront.

“The people of Toronto love their parks,” Tory said. “The parks give us breathing room in our lives. They’re places to meet friends, to play with our kids, to have events, to sit back and simply enjoy the out of doors.”

He said the population in the area between King-Spadina and City Place is almost 40,000, up from 1,000 in 1996. In the next 25 years, the population downtown is expected to double to almost 500,000.

Meanwhile, 75 per cent of downtown parks are considered no more than parkettes as they’re smaller than half a hectare.

“We’ve allowed a lot of development to take place without taking a step like this, and it’s time to move forward,” Tory said.

The park will take four to five years to build and the price tag will likely be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which Tory said would come from both the city and the private sector. The Millenium Park in Chicago, a similar project, cost $33 million per acre.

Area councillor Joe Cressy said he’s been working on a new park for the Entertainment District and a YMCA near King and Spadina, but the Rail Deck Park would be a destination for the entire city.

“This idea won’t happen overnight. It will take years,” he said. “But it is bold, it is ambitious, and it is exactly the type of big thinking that the city of Toronto is ready for.

“As we grow, we need to ensure that we’re building neighbourhoods, building communities, not just building towers.”

Staff will present a proposal for implementation and public consultations to the city’s Executive Committee in September.

New Mexico bear hitches a ride on top of a garbage truck

The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Aug 4th, 2016

A New Mexico bear hitched a ride on top of a garbage truck, travelling at least 5 miles on the vehicle before it was able to make its escape up a tree.

Santa Fe National Forest spokeswoman Julie Anne Overton says the driver was picking up a dumpster last week when he heard a squeal then realized the bear was on top of the truck. It rode atop the vehicle to a site where the Forest Service keeps a firefighting helicopter.

Helicopter mechanic Evan Welsch, who snapped photos of the bear, said about 30 Forest Service and National Park workers had gathered around to see the spectacle when it was suggested that the driver back up near a tree to give the animal an escape route.

The bear clamoured for the tree and stayed up there about an hour or two before scurrying down and running off.

Toronto mosquitoes in two test pools positive with West Nile virus

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Aug 3rd, 2016

Mosquitoes in two pools in Toronto have tested positive for West Nile virus, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said on Wednesday.

This is the first positive test for the virus this year in Toronto.

Toronto Public Health sets 43 mosquito traps across the city for weekly testing between early June and the end of September.

In a statement, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the city’s acting medical officer of health, said the positive test result serves as a reminder that Torontonians should “take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”

Although TPH said the risk of becoming infected is low, it suggests the following tips:

  • Avoid areas with large numbers of mosquitoes, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • Wear light-coloured clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and a hat
  • Use mosquito repellent approved by Health Canada
  • Remove standing water from your property where mosquitoes can breed
  • Make sure your home has tight-fitting screens on windows and doors

The City of Toronto has released a fact sheet that lists the symptoms, including fever, nausea, headaches, vomiting, skin rashes, and swollen glands.

Last year, TPH reported 18 positive mosquito pools and 13 confirmed human cases in Toronto.

So far this year, there hasn’t been any human cases of the virus in the city.

Ottawa to launch inquiry into missing, murdered indigenous women

KRISTY KIRKUP, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 3rd, 2016

A woman wipes away a tear around a sharing circle at the 2nd National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Winnipeg on Feb. 25, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The federal government is preparing to mark the end of its work to shape the design and scope of the inquiry examining missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

A ceremony, expected to feature a number of indigenous traditions, will be held Wednesday at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., to mark the beginning of work for five commissioners.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu will be on hand for the event.

They are also expected to meet the families of some victims following the announcement.

Related stories:

Aboriginal Canadians victims of crime more often than non-aboriginals: Statcan

Premiers close to agreeing on inquiry into missing, murdered aboriginal women

Beyond the inquiry: families of missing, murdered indigenous women want action

It is expected to be a highly emotional day for a number of long-time advocates who have repeatedly called on the federal government to open a national public inquiry to examine the issue.

The study – resisted by the Conservative government of former prime minister Stephen Harper – was a key Liberal campaign promise during the last federal election.

The federal government has earmarked $40 million over two years for the inquiry, but Bennett has said this is a placeholder budget and stressed the need to get the process “right.”

In May 2014, the RCMP released a report documenting more than 1,100 murdered and missing women between 1980 and 2012.

A year later, it said 32 aboriginal women had been murdered and 11 more had disappeared since it first reported on the issue.

Suspected drunk driver spills milk on Yonge, near College

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Aug 3rd, 2016

Cartons of milk spilled on Yonge Street near College Street on Aug. 3, 2016. CITYNEWS

Cartons of milk spilled all over Yonge Street near College Street on Wednesday morning after a driver crashed into the back of a delivery truck.

The driver, who is suspected of being drunk, rammed his Mercedes SUV into the back of the parked delivery truck at Yonge and College around 3:30 a.m.

The driver of the SUV was taken into custody and is being investigated for impaired driving.

There was plenty of spilled milk on the scene, but fortunately no one was hurt.

Toronto taxi drivers threaten job action, claim Uber not following bylaws

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Aug 3rd, 2016

Taxi drivers protest Uber in Toronto on June 1, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Cabbies say Uber drivers are ignoring the new regulations that were put in place by city hall in May.

The United Taxi Workers Association is floating the idea of another rolling cab protest, possibly in September and just in time for the Toronto International Film Festival.

Last December, hundreds of taxi drivers rolled down on downtown streets, snarling traffic for hours. Demonstrations like this one came as the taxi industry was pushing for regulations to even the playing field for drivers competing with Uber.

In May, city council passed new bylaws that required Uber drivers to get vehicle inspections and register their criminal background checks, which is what cabbies have to do.

Those rules went into effect two weeks ago, but the head of the GTA’s taxi organization said Uber is not complying and the city isn’t helping.

“Either they’re not doing it or they’re not enforcing it, it’s the same thing to us. We have seen nothing on the streets,” Paul Sekhon, president of the United Taxi Workers Association of the GTA said, on Tuesday.

“We’ve been sitting her patiently […], just sitting and waiting for city officials to get this done.”

The region’s taxi group is set to meet on Thursday, as part of their first step to decide what kind of job action they’ll be launching.

A spokesperson with Uber Canada said they are working with the city but did not address the taxi group’s allegations.

“We have applied for our PTC (Private Transportation Company) licence and look forward to receiving it from the City of Toronto soon,” Jean-Christophe de Le Rue said in a statement. “The city has a phased application process and we expect to fulfill each phase as it becomes available.”

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