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Norovirus could be the cause of Humber College illness: health officials

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 23rd, 2017

Humber College is investigating an illness that left nearly 200 students complaining of vomiting and abdominal pain since Thursday.

On Sunday, Toronto Public Health Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Michael Finkelstein told 680 NEWS the cause of the illness could be norovirus.

“The signs and symptoms of the people we’ve talked to certainly suggest it could be due to norovirus,” he said.

A video posted to Facebook by a Humber College student shows a cockroach crawling out of food.

cockroach humber

“After ordering my food from the burrito place located at Humber’s food court, I saw a cockroach crawling out of the food so I took my phone and recorded it,” reads the post, which has been viewed more than 140,000 times since Friday.

A spokesperson with the college says they are aware of the video being circulated and have also spoken to Toronto Public Health about it.

“Toronto public health has been here over the weekend. They found no violations in respect to food safety, that’s where we stand,” said Andrew Leopold.

“Right now we’re focusing on every student that’s been impacted by the incident, we’re working to make sure that they’re receiving the proper care, and then we’ll focus on anything else.”

CityNews has learned that the location where the cockroach was spotted had no previous violations, at least for the last two years.

Leopold said Saturday most of the students who were ill lived at a residence at the institution’s North Campus.

Toronto Public Health said in a statement at least 11 students spent Friday night in the emergency room.

“This cluster of illness may be due to something that is being passed from person to person or a food source,” TPH representative Michael Finkelstein said in the statement. “Once certain viruses are in environments such as student residences where individuals live close together, preventing the spread of easily transmitted seasonal viruses like norovirus becomes challenging.”

“This is a unique situation,” said Leopold. “We want to make sure our students are feeling good and receiving the care and attention they need.”

Leopold said students began reporting symptoms around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, with more cases surfacing through the night.

Student Michelle Vukobrat said she was violently ill after eating breakfast Thursday morning.

“I had no breaks,” she said. “I was constantly, constantly sick.

“I would feel maybe better just after throwing up for maybe a minute and then I would try to [lie] down, sleep it off for little bit. But I was up within the next minute, throwing up again.”

The students who became ill had eaten burgers, pasta, bacon and egg sandwiches. They all live in residence and ate at the residence café.

The hospital that treated the students has indicated the source of the illness is “undetermined,” he said.

“We’re continuing to investigate the source of the illness,” Leopold said.

Food inspection reports for the café were not readily available.

Leopold added that Humber is encouraging all its students to ensure they engage in good hygiene practices, particularly in high-density spaces like a campus residence.

The college’s North Campus residence houses about 1,000 students. It is temporarily closed to visitors, although the café was still serving food.

Michelle’s mother Kathy Vukobrat said she wanted a refund for her daughter’s meal plan.

“I want my money back,” she said.

“It’s not really about the money. It’s like, what has to happen? Does a kid need to die first before we look at this?

“Food poisoning is a pretty serious thing … I have sent a letter to Humber and said I have lost faith — I do not trust them to act in the best interest of my child, and I don’t want her eating there

Women’s March this weekend, TTC work to close section of subway

Samantha Knight and Patricia D'Cunha | posted Friday, Jan 20th, 2017

It’s been almost three weeks since the start of the new year. How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?

If one of your resolutions was to be more patient with the TTC, you’re out of luck this weekend. Subways won’t be running on a large chunk of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina), but shuttle buses will only be operating between select stations.

The partial subway shutdown shouldn’t stop you from heading out this weekend. The weather is expected to be mild, and there are ways to navigate around the closure (see the TTC section section below).

Have a great weekend!


Women’s March on Washington: Toronto
On Saturday, Torontonians will be marching in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, which is being held the day after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Marches are taking place in cities across North America, including in Hamilton, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Vancouver, and Montreal, where people are encouraged to speak out about the views expressed by the incoming president.

“Now is a critical moment to come together to send a united message. We cannot afford to be silent or idle. Let us continue to push for justice for the most marginalized and oppressed among us,” organizers of the Toronto march said on Facebook.

The Toronto march, which is run by We Talk Women, starts at noon at Queen’s Park.

Winter Run
If one of your new year’s resolutions is to lose weight, a run along the Toronto waterfront is an incentive to get you moving.

The MEC Toronto Race ONE‘s 5K and 10K runs take place at 9:10 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively. It starts at the Martin Goodman Trail at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch on Lake Shore Boulevard, then to Marilynn Bell Park, Battery Park, and ends back at the trail.

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics
Members of the Toronto Police Service will be taking a chilly dip into Lake Ontario this Saturday for the Polar Plunge in support of Special Olympics Ontario.

This is their first time participating in the event and they will be joined by other police services, law enforcement partners, members of the public and athletes from the Special Olympics.

The plunge takes place at noon at Woodbine Beach. Check-in begins at 10 a.m., with opening ceremonies and remarks from police Chief Mark Saunders starting at 11:30 a.m.

Toronto International Boat Show
Whether you are a Donald Trump fan or not, you can watch Trump look-alikes perform “high-flying” wakeboarding and waterskiing stunts on the indoor lake at the Toronto International Boat Show.


The indoor boat show, which is being held at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, starts on Friday and runds until Jan. 29. It will also feature Crazy Canucks Waterski Show to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. There will be 1,000 boats on display, including a 54-foot Cantius yacht valued at more than $2.5 million.

Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend’17
Witness an explosion of dance this weekend at Harbourfront Centre with Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend’17. The event showcases raw talent and contemporary innovation, along with the beauty and diversity of traditional dance styles.

Twenty-five of Toronto’s dance companies will be featured over the three-day event. There will also be two world premieres from dancer Ryan Lee, and the artistic director of Rock Bottom Movement, Alyssa Martin.

Casa Loma Wedding Open House
Would you like to get married at a castle but not leave Toronto to have the ceremony? This Sunday, you can get a sneak preview of what your wedding would be like at the historic Casa Loma. An open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and registration is required.

Casa Loma in Toronto. Photo via Wikipedia/Creative Commons/Maria Carmen.













Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate
Celebrate your inner Scot this Saturday at Sir John A’s Great Canadian Kilt Skate. This is the first year the event will be held in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square, joining six other cities across the country that have been hosting kilt skates since 2015.

A child stands next o her parent at the Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate. Photo via kiltskate.com.













With Canada’s 150th birthday, the 2017 kilt skate promises to be the biggest yet. It will celebrate Canada’s multicultural heritage and the contribution Scots have made to our national fabric. Hundreds of Torontonians are expected to come out to skate in their kilts, tartans and other Scottish regalia. The event runs from noon to 2 p.m.

TTC closure

Partial subway shutdown
It’s official: the first subway closure of the year has arrived and this one may leave you shaking your head.

There will be no service on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) between Downsview and St. George stations this Saturday and Sunday because of signal upgrades. But, due to numerous on-street construction activities, shuttle buses will only operate between Downsview and Lawrence West stations during the closure.

A portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) will be closed on Jan. 21-22 due to signal upgrades. CITYNEWS/Ginella Massa













The TTC suggests riders to use existing east-west bus/streetcar routes to the Yonge portion of line 1, or north-south bus/streetcar routes to line 2. Additional service will be aded to those routes during the closure. Regular service is set to resume at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan named starter for All-Star Game

Sportsnet | posted Friday, Jan 20th, 2017

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has been named a starter for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans on Feb. 19.

This will be DeRozan’s third All-Star Game, with his first two appearances coming in 2014 and 2016.

The 27-year-old is enjoying a tremendous year with the Raptors, averaging a career-high 28.2 points to go with 3.9 assists.

DeRozan joins LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo as a starter for the Eastern Conference.

Steph Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis will start for the West. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook did not make the starting five.
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Father and son file $4M lawsuit against TTC over Union Station brawl

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 20th, 2017

A Toronto father and son have filed a $4-million lawsuit against the TTC and two of its security officers after a violent brawl following a Maple Leafs game two years ago.

The fight took place on a packed subway platform at Union Station.

Cellphone video of the January 2015 incident shows two TTC officers punching the two men.

The video surfaced on social media two months after it happened.

WARNING: The video may be disturbing to some viewers. Discretion is advised.

A lawyer for the two men claims the incident began when the father accidentally brushed one of the transit officers after paying his fare, causing the officer to throw the man against the wall in an attempt to arrest him.

It’s alleged that the fight broke out when the son tried to speak with the officer on his father’s behalf. At that point, the second transit officer intervened.

Assault charges were laid against 64-year-old Russell Gillman and his 35-year-old son Jamie. Those charges were dropped last month.

“This case is about those in authority overstepping their bounds,” Michael Smitiuch, one of the lawyers representing the Gillmans, said in a statement. “Both the Gillmans and the public deserve assurances that this sort of incident won’t be repeated.”

The lawsuit claims that the two transit enforcement officers applied excessive and unreasonable force under the circumstances and that they were “unqualified and inadequately trained” by the TTC for their position.

The TTC conducted an internal investigation but the review was not escalated because no formal complaint was filed against the transit officers.

The two officers were transit enforcement officers at the time of the incident. One has since transitioned to special constable status, which affords similar powers to police officers.

Toronto police investigated but decided not to charge the TTC officers.

Inauguration Day: Trump to become America’s 45th president

Julie Pace, The Associated Press | posted Friday, Jan 20th, 2017

Donald Trump, a real estate mogul and reality television star who upended American politics and energized voters angry with Washington, will be sworn in Friday as the 45th president of the United States, putting Republicans in control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

Ebullient Trump supporters flocked to the nation’s capital for the inaugural festivities, some wearing red hats emblazoned with his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. But in a sign of the deep divisions Trump sowed during his combative campaign, dozens of Democratic lawmakers were boycotting the swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill.

While Trump came to power bucking convention, he was wrapping himself in the traditional pomp and pageantry that accompanies the peaceful transfer of power. The president-in-waiting will attend church with his family Friday morning, then meet President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for tea at the White House. The Trumps and the Obamas will travel together in the presidential limousine for the short trip to the Capitol for the noon swearing-in ceremony.

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Aides said Trump had been personally invested in crafting his inaugural address, a relatively brief 20-minute speech that is expected to centre on his vision for what it means to be an American. Spokesman Sean Spicer said the address would be “less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document.”

Trump has pledged to upend Obama’s major domestic and national security policies, including repealing his signature health care law and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But he’s offered few details of how he plans to accomplish his agenda, often sending contradictory signals.

The three days of inaugural festivities kicked off Thursday. Trump left his Trump-branded jet in New York and flew to Washington in a government plane, saluting an Air Force officer as he descended the steps with his wife, Melania. He and the incoming vice-president, Mike Pence, solemnly laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery before joining supporters for an evening concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

“We’re going to unify our country,” Trump said at the close of the two-hour concert featuring country star Toby Keith, soul’s Sam Moore and The Piano Guys. But not singer Jennifer Holliday: she backed out after an outcry from Trump critics.

With rain a possibility, the National Park Service announced that it was easing its “no umbrella” policy for Friday, allowing collapsible umbrellas along the parade route and on the National Mall.

The nation’s soon-to-be president joked about the chance of a downpour. “That’s OK,” Trump told campaign donors at an event Thursday night, “because people will realize it’s my real hair.”

“Might be a mess, but they’re going to see that it’s my real hair,” he said.

The lack of A-list star power – as well as the threat of showers – did little to dampen the spirits of Trump supporters looking ahead to the day.

Chris Lehmann, 55, a maintenance supervisor from Belmar, New Jersey, said: “I’m so excited, I’m like on top of the world.”

Eleanor Haven, 83, of Alexander City, Alabama, was attending the festivities with her son, Scott Haven. The pair said they had never been to a political event before attending a Trump “thank you” tour rally in Alabama after the election and were looking forward to Friday’s celebration.

“We’re excited for changes in the country,” Scott Haven said.

All of the living American presidents were scheduled to attend the swearing in ceremony, except for 92-year-old George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized this week with pneumonia. His wife, Barbara, was also admitted to the hospital after falling ill. Trump tweeted his well-wishes to the Bushes, saying he was “looking forward to a speedy recovery.”

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s vanquished campaign rival, also planned to join dignitaries at Capitol Hill.

While Trump revels in a celebratory lunch with lawmakers and parade down Pennsylvania Avenue – passing his newly opened Washington hotel – workers at the White House will set about the frantic process of moving out the Obamas and preparing the residence for its new occupants. Moving trucks were on standby Friday morning at the White House.

Obama, who will continue to live in Washington, was leaving town with his family after the inauguration for a vacation in Palm Springs, California. He planned to address a farewell gathering of staff at Joint Base Andrews before boarding his last flight on the military aircraft that ferries presidents on their travels.

Associated Press writers Nancy Benac, Jessica Gresko, Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

Inaugural cheers, fireworks as Trump sweeps in for his big day

Nancy Benac, The Associated Press | posted Friday, Jan 20th, 2017

With fireworks heralding his big moment, Donald Trump swept into Washington Thursday on the eve of his presidential inauguration and pledged to unify a nation sorely divided and clamouring for change. The capital braced for an onslaught of crowds and demonstrators – with all the attendant hoopla and hand-wringing.

“It’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world,” the president-elect declared at a celebratory evening concert Thursday night with the majestic Lincoln Memorial for a backdrop. To the unwavering supporters who were with him from the start, he promised: “You’re not forgotten any more. You’re not forgotten any more.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he called out, and then fireworks exploded into the evening sky.

Trump began taking on more trappings of the presidency during the day, giving a salute to the Air Force officer who welcomed him as he stepped off a military jet with wife Melania at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington. Later, he placed a ceremonial wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.

At a luncheon in a ballroom at his own hotel, he gave a shout-out to Republican congressional leaders, declaring: “I just want to let the world know we’re doing very well together.” House Speaker Paul Ryan, he said, will finally have someone to sign legislation into law. Then Trump veered into the territory of the unknowable to boast his Cabinet selections had “by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever.”

Just blocks away, the White House was quickly emptying out. President Barack Obama had his final weekly lunch with Vice-President Joe Biden and got in a few final official acts, cutting the sentences of 330 inmates and placing a call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, in a tweet, called Inauguration Eve “a momentous day before a historic day,” as security barricades and blockades went up around Washington in preparation for Friday’s swearing-in at the Capitol.

“We are all ready to go to work,” Pence said. “In fact, we can’t wait to get to work for the American people to make it great again.”

Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he’d be putting on his “favourite DHS jacket” and taking to the streets to inspect security preparations for the inaugural festivities.

He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that areas where inaugural crowds will congregate will be “extra fortified this year with dump trucks, heavily armoured vehicles to prevent anybody who’s not authorized from being in the area from driving something in there.” He said there was “no specific credible threat” related to the inauguration.

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Trump’s public schedule for the inaugural celebration began at Arlington, where he and Pence stood at attention as a bugler played taps at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Trump’s wife, children and grandchildren silently looked on.

From there, Trump shuttled to a celebratory welcome concert on the steps of Lincoln Memorial that ended with fireworks filling the sky.

The concert, open to the public, offered headliners including country star Toby Keith, soul’s Sam Moore and rockers 3 Doors Down. But not singer Jennifer Holliday: She backed out after an outcry from Trump critics.

“This is some day, dear friends,” actor Jon Voight told the crowd, casting Trump’s impending inauguration as evidence of divine intervention after “a parade of propaganda that left us all breathless with anticipation, not knowing if God could reverse all the negative lies against Mr. Trump.”

The crowd sent up a cheer when the giant screens flashed video of Trump singing along as Lee Greenwood delivered his signature “God Bless the U.S. A.” Trump declared such a concert had a never been done before. In fact, a number of past presidents have staged inaugural concerts among the monuments.

Tom Barrack, the chief architect of Trump’s inaugural festivities, said Trump would show the world that “we can argue, we can fight and we can debate,” but then the nation unites behind one president.

Trump, though, still had an urge to rehearse particulars of the long, 18-month campaign, from its early days when he claimed “a lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance” to the final weeks when his rallies took him to “state after state after state.”

Spokesman Sean Spicer said the president-elect was still making “edits and additions” to the inaugural address he’ll deliver at Friday’s swearing-in.

Never mind about Trump’s gilded private plane: He made his Washington entrance on a Boeing 757 that is part of the fleet of military planes that become Air Force One whenever the president is aboard. The president-elect, who came to Washington without any press on his plane, was joined on the trip by a gaggle of children, grandchildren and other members of his extended family. Also spotted: bags of dresses and formalwear for the coming days’ festivities.

At the luncheon, Trump made sure to work in a plug for his hotel, saying, “This is a gorgeous room. A total genius must have built this place.” Reporters covering Trump’s remark were removed from the room before the president-elect finished speaking.

Ebullient Trump fans were ready for a three-day party.

“We’re hoping for good weather and hoping for some unity,” said Jon-Paul Oldham, a firefighter who came from Thomaston, Connecticut. He said everyone should want Trump to succeed.

“Wanting him to fail is like wanting the plane to crash but you’re on the plane,” Oldham said.

It does appear it may rain on Trump’s parade.

With rain in the forecast, the National Park Service announced that it was easing its “no umbrella” policy for Friday, allowing collapsible umbrellas along the parade route and on the National Mall.

Premier Wynne vows more hydro relief before spring budget

The Canadian Press, News Staff | posted Thursday, Jan 19th, 2017

More hydro relief for Ontario ratepayers will be announced before the spring budget, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Wednesday as she met with a Windsor-area resident.

Libby Keenan, who has a farm with several horses in Amherstburg, Ont., wrote a Facebook post complaining about hydro rates that was shared more than 21,000 times. Though there’s no machinery in her stable area, Keenan said her most recent bill was for nearly $600.

“How much do I have to pay for the privilege of shovelling manure seven days a week?” she said.

The issue is top of mind for the Liberal government as anger among Ontarians over the rising rates shows no signs of abating, and as the party – Wynne in particular – sags in the polls with an election looming next year.

A government-commissioned survey last year found that 94 per cent of Ontarians were eager for electricity price relief.

Wynne met Wednesday with Keenan, and during a part of the meeting was open to the media, Wynne said she wouldn’t wait for the budget to announce more relief measures.

Keenan said Wynne told her she is specifically looking at rural customers’ delivery charges.

The government brought in an eight-per-cent rebate on electricity bills as of Jan. 1, but Keenan called that a drop in the bucket. Wynne has said high electricity prices are her “mistake” and has vowed to find more ways to lower rates and reduce the burden on consumers.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk has said the electricity portion of hydro bills for homes and small businesses rose 70 per cent between 2006 and 2014.

Before the meeting, Keenan said she wanted the government to stop the sell-off of Hydro One – 30 per cent has been sold but the government intends to sell 60 – and have the CEO take a pay cut, when so many of the company’s customers are struggling with bills.

“Do we not have any ability to say, ‘I don’t care who you are, I don’t care if you’re the pope, you don’t deserve $4M a year?”‘ Keenan said. “He’s not working as hard as I am. Send him to me for a week and I’ll show him.”

After the meeting, Keenan said it was a productive conversation.

“I was not being patted on the hand and being told, ‘Too bad for you.”‘

Also at the legislature Wednesday, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business presented a survey of 2,965 of its small business members and half said their electricity bills had risen more than 20 per cent in the past three years. More than half said those increases had led them to increase the prices of their products or services.

The vast majority – 86 per cent – said that it wasn’t possible for them to move their electricity consumption away from on-peak periods, when the cost is the highest.

Pride Toronto has no plans to backtrack on police parade ban

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 19th, 2017

Pride Toronto say it has no plans to backtrack on a vote Tuesday night that would ban all police participation from this year’s parade at the request of Black Lives Matter (BLM).

“What we don’t want to see and what the community made very clear last night was no advertent police presence during the Pride parade…and it’s our responsibility to adhere to that,” Pride Toronto board member Sarah Cooper told CityNews on Wednesday.

Cooper added that “queer police officers and trans police officers can march under the banner of community groups,” but won’t be able to have their own floats or contingents at the annual event.

The Pride Annual General Meeting was meant to focus on electing five new board members and finances but an item was added to address the list of demands BLM presented during an interruption of last year’s parade.

A majority of Pride Toronto members voted in favour of the full list of demands, including the ban on police participation.

They also agreed to hire more people from vulnerable communities and provide more funding for events aimed at minority groups.

Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash admitted to being confused by what the vote actually means. But he says there’s no confusion when it comes to how police will handle their duties.

“Our job to protect public safety operates irrespective of the whims of a particular organization,” he told CityNews. “It’s our most important job and we are never going to compromise that.”

“We are very actively involved in building relationships, we’ve come a long way,” he added. “We still have a lot more to do, but we think inclusion is much more important than exclusion.”

Black Lives Matter organizer, Hashim Yussuf, said the vote sends a clear message.

“Obviously there’s mandatory police for security and things like that…but we just didn’t want police inside the parade itself,” he said. “We believe the police as an organization, as an institution, have been very homophobic and racist to the community members within Pride Toronto.”

When asked if the ban goes against the principle of inclusion that seems to be at the epicentre of Pride, Yussuf scoffed.

“Banning the police is not being exclusive at all. The police are exclusive towards many different minority communities.”

Social media teemed with negative reaction to Tuesday’s vote, criticizing Pride Toronto for ostensibly abandoning its philosophy of inclusion by banning police.

Some referenced an open letter from Toronto Const. Chuck Krangle, who is openly gay and decried any move to leave his employer out of the parade.

“Police officers are significantly represented in the LGBTQ community and it would be unacceptable to alienate and discriminate against them and those who support them,” he wrote. “They too struggled to gain a place and workplace free from discrimination and bias.”

A petition on change.org is also asking that police be allowed to march and be present in uniform at the parade.

Mayor John Tory expressed his disappointment with the vote on Wednesday and said he’s hopeful a compromise can be reached.

“I hope they can find a way to respect the fact that police have made a positive contribution to improve relations and have been building bridges, and that’s a two-way street…”

“I hope (both sides) can sit down and resolve this issue in the coming weeks so that we can continue to build those bridges.”

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