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Toronto city councillor flips bird to proposed ‘roof tax’

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 25th, 2016

A Toronto city councillor has decided that flipping the bird is a good way to get a message across.

In a media release sent out on Monday, Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti attached a photograph of him giving two middle fingers with “tax this” written in white letters.

The release was sent to media as a response to Coun. Mammoliti thinking the roof tax is a cash grab.

Currently, taxpayers pay one amount for water and wastewater, but he said city staff want to create another charge for storm water.

The Ward 7 councillor said if council gets their way, homeowner with a hard surface roof would be paying more for a service they already have.

‘Voluntary’ online literacy test for Ontario students cancelled due to cyberattack

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 25th, 2016

The Ontario agency tasked with administering the first online literacy test to tens of thousands of high school students in the province last week says it was forced to pull the plug by an “intentional, malicious and sustained” cyberattack.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) said Monday the network hosting the “voluntary” online test was targeted by an “extremely large volume of traffic from a vast set of IP addresses around the globe.”

It said the impact of the distributed denial of service attack carried out by “an unknown entity or entities” was to block legitimate users such as school boards and students from accessing the test.

Most of the province’s 900 secondary schools – representing a maximum of 147,000 students – had signed up to participate in the test, which was a technical trial run before the first official test scheduled next year.

The EQAO’s director of assessment said some 15,000 students appeared to have managed to complete the test, and the agency is currently reviewing the data to see whether the results can later be released. However, there will not be time for another trial test before the spring, Richard Jones said.

There is no evidence at this time that the incident was linked to a similar cyberattack that affected websites such as Twitter and Netflix on Friday, Jones said.

He said the agency shares the frustration felt by students, parents and educators.

“We’re totally shocked that this sort of attack would happen, it’s certainly nothing that we expected at all,” he said.

“We expected, as part of this trial, that we … would find out that there might be technical issues at the school or board level, for example, we might have some learnings there that we would be able to go from, but we didn’t expect at all that there would be this kind of unwanted activity on our system.”

The EQAO, which oversees standardized testing in the province, said it is confident that student assessments can successfully be administered online.

The province’s education minister echoed that sentiment, saying offering online testing is the best way to support students.

“We’re going to keep ensuring that Ontario students have an opportunity to write this test online,” Mitzie Hunter said. “Of course, in the spring we’ll ensure that there is a paper-based backup as well to ensure that all students are able to complete the test.”

An investigation into Friday’s incident is underway and will lead to recommendations to prevent similar problems in the future.

The test was also meant to serve as a “risk-free” way for students to take it ahead of the next scheduled assessment in March 2017.

If students passed the online test, it would count, but if they failed or didn’t complete it, they would be considered “first-time eligible” for the test next spring.

The program was open to all 72 school boards, as well as First Nations and private schools.

14 ways to make the most of your slow cooker this season

Kristen Eppich | posted Monday, Oct 24th, 2016

Related: Simplify your weeknight dinners by letting your slow cooker do the work for you!

Slow cookers are very divisive appliances; you’ll find just as many people who claim to never use them, as you will those who rely on them for the bulk of their cooking. I believe the reason for this is that while there are tons of delicious slow cooker recipes, there are just as many bland and mushy ones. This situation can be remedied with a few basic tips that will make every dish come out a winner.

1. Read your manual.
Sorry to start with such an irritating reminder, but it will help. All slow cookers or ‘crock pots’ are similar in principle but have different settings. The manual is your first shot at getting it right. In particular, your manual will indicate the optimal level that you should fill the basin or liner to for even cooking.

2. Don’t splurge, cheaper cuts of meat work better.
Tougher cuts of meat are derived from parts of the animal that are exercised more often, so they tend to be lower in fat and richer in taste. These two attributes make them the perfect candidate for your slow cooker. Extended cooking time at a low heat will result in very tender meat with a wonderful depth of flavour.

3. Trim the fat.
Remove as much fat as you can before adding meat to your slow cooker. Residual fat will be rendered as it cooks and excess fat will sit in a layer at the top of your food and result in a greasy texture.


Related: Slow-cooker recipes to get you through fall and winter


4. Brown your meat.
Browning your meat before adding it isn’t a must, it’s highly recommended.  This step is often avoided — because we all want to just toss the ingredients in — but browned meat will add a richer flavour to your finished product.

5. Use less liquid.
Because there is no evaporation in slow cooking, the recipes require less liquid. If you are adapting a recipe to suit your slow cooker, keep this in mind and reduce the amount of liquid you add.

6. Spray the liner.
Before you add anything, lightly spray the liner with cooking spray. It will help with the clean-up later on.

7. Layer properly.
If cooking with hard, raw vegetables that you know require a longer cooking time, layer them at the bottom of the pot where they will have the most exposure to heat and liquid.


Related: Slow-cooker French onion soup


8. Keep it low and slow. 
Slow cookers have different settings. When it comes to cooking meat, opt for the low setting whenever possible, especially when using tougher cuts of meat, which allows for tenderizing. Beans also prefer the low-slow method, but vegetable-based dishes can handle the higher setting with a reduced cook time.

9. Avoid adding frozen food . . . for the most part.
Frozen meat should never be added to a slow cooker. Because of the nature of the “slow-cook” the internal temperature of the meat rises at a slower rate. As much as possible you want to avoid having meat sit between temperatures of 40F-140F, as frozen meat can’t heat up fast enough. Frozen vegetables can be added if they are small or chopped, but will also increase the cook time. Whenever possible, use fresh food.

10. Keep the lid on.
They say that every time you lift the lid of of your slow cooker you release enough heat to increase the cook time by 30 minutes. Resist the temptation. If you must check on the status of your dish, wait until you have at least reached the minimum cook time. Just relax and let it do its thing.

11. Add very tender vegetables toward the end of the cooking time.
If you have very tender vegetables that you want to have hold their shape, add them closer to the end of the cook time. How-to: quickly lift the lid and slip them in for the last 30 to 45 minutes.


Related: How to choose (and use) a pressure cooker


12. Salt lightly.
A small amount of liquid and a long cooking time mean that flavours will be deep, rich and highly concentrated. You can’t correct over-salting, so salt lightly and add more seasoning as needed toward the end of cooking.

13. Avoid the “too much liquid” dilemma.
If you end up with too much or too thin a liquid within your cooked dish, there is a fix for this. Remove the lid and continue cooking uncovered on high to help reduce the liquid level. If you have a large cut of meat, remove it to a platter to allow more surface area so your liquid can cook down.

14. Use it a day ahead.
And the hits just keep on coming! Slow-cooked meals are often better the next day — when all the flavours have had a chance to marry. Transfer your meal to a large dish (don’t store in the slow cooker liner because it retains heat for too long) and refrigerate overnight. Reheat the next day.

Originally published January, 2014.

Read more:
11 best tips for big-batch cooking
Moroccan vegetable stew in the slow cooker
Make glazed ginger-garlic ribs in the slow cooker

Outrageous condo development proposals causing a stir across Toronto

Faiza Amin | posted Monday, Oct 24th, 2016

Old City Hall will be converted to a four storey parking garage to accompany a 90-storey condo, that’s according to a development proposal posted on the heritage site’s front steps.

The sign has caused much confusion these last few days, but rest assured, it’s a fake and it’s not the only one.

A link at the bottom of the poster takes you to this website, which features even more outrages development plans on some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

For instance, a 40-storey condo will be built half-way in the air and connecting to the CN tower. The Blue Jays will be getting some new neighbours, with two 60-storey towers proposed to be built on top of the stadium.

 

developmentproposal
Images taken from developmentproposal.tumblr.com

CityHall is slated for the construction of 198 parking spaces to be built six levels below, for an anticipated 50-storey residential building.

Glo’erm and Tuggy, the artists listed on the website and said to be the creators of the ‘Development Proposal’ project, provided no explanation as to why they posted the notices.

CityNews did reach out to the artists listed on the website, but our messages were not returned.

developmentproposal2

Stolen head from statue of Christ is returned, orange replacement removed

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 24th, 2016

SUDBURY, Ont. – The missing head of a statue of baby Jesus has been returned, and the bright orange clay head that replaced it has been removed.

Gerard Lajeunesse, the priest at the Ste. Anne des Pins parish in Sudbury, Ont., says the head was returned to him on Friday.

The statue had recently been fitted with the temporary clay head — topped with a spiky orange crown — crafted by a local artist, which garnered international attention and was compared online to a character on “The Simpsons” or to the infamously botched restoration of a fresco of Jesus in Spain.

Lajeunesse says the stolen head was returned to him on Friday, by a woman he knew.

He says the woman, who he wouldn’t identify, came upon the head through her work, but didn’t realize it belonged to the church until she saw the media reports about the orange replacement.

 

A statue is shown outside Ste. Anne des Pins parish in Sudbury, Ont., on Thursday Oct. 20, 2016. A statue of baby Jesus got a facelift after it was vandalized in northern Ontario - and the result is turning heads. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Gino Donato
A statue is shown outside Ste. Anne des Pins parish in Sudbury, Ont., on Thursday Oct. 20, 2016. A statue of baby Jesus got a facelift after it was vandalized in northern Ontario – and the result is turning heads. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Gino Donato

 

Lajeunesse says the replacement had already been removed by the time he got the original head back.

Mr. Christie’s Arrowroot Biscuits recalled due to ‘off-taste’

CityNews | posted Monday, Oct 24th, 2016

The makers of Mr. Christie’s Arrowroot Biscuis have issued a Canada-wide recall of the product following reports of illnesses.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Mondelēz Canada issued the recall due to potential “off-taste.”

The products being recalled include:

  • 350-gram boxes, with UPC code 066721 01046 9 and a best before dates of Feb. 24 and Feb. 28, 2017
  • 1.4-kilogram boxes with UPC code 0 66721 01856 4 and a best before dates of Feb. 20, 2017 through to Feb. 23, 2017
  • 3.5-kilogram bulk boxes, with UPC code 1 00 66721 51038 6 and a best before date of April 25, 2017
  • 3.6-kilogram 2-pack boxes, with UPC code 1 00 66721 51404 9 and best before dates of April 21, 2017 through to April 25, 2017, April 29 and April 30, 2017 and May 1, May 2, May 5 and May 12, 2017

The CFIA says the products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Nineteen-year-old wins PC nomination to fill Tim Hudak’s vacated seat

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 24th, 2016

A 19-year-old university student has beat out the president of the Progressive Conservatives to win the party’s nomination for an upcoming byelection.

Sam Oosterhoff won the PC nomination Saturday night to become the party’s candidate in Niagara West-Glanbrook.

The riding was vacated when former party leader Tim Hudak resigned last month and the byelection will be held Nov. 17, along with one in Ottawa-Vanier.

Oosterhoff was up against party president and former MP Rick Dykstra, as well as regional councillor Tony Quirk in seeking the nomination.

Oosterhoff is a student at Brock University and has worked as a legislative assistant in Parliament Hill.

PC Leader Patrick Brown says the byelection is an opportunity to share a “positive message of change.”

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