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Man charged for directing vulgar term at Ayesha Curry on live TV

News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 7th, 2019

A man who directed a vulgar comment at the wife of Golden State Warriors basketball star Stephen Curry has now been charged by Toronto police.

Tristan Warkentin, 28, of Toronto, has been charged with mischief – interfere with lawful operation of property.

Police say Warkentin was being interviewed on a live CP24 broadcast in downtown Toronto after the Warriors beat the Raptors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night. When asked to comment on the game, Warkentin referenced Curry’s wife, Ayesha, and then uttered a profane phrase into the camera before running off.

Warkentin is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, July 11.

Ontario politicians to take a nearly five month summer break

The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Friday, Jun 7th, 2019

MPPs are set to take an extra long summer break, with politicians not returning until after the federal election.

The Progressive Conservative government has adjourned the legislature until Oct. 28 – the longest break in almost 25 years.

Normally, the legislature rises in early June and resumes shortly after Labour Day.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath thinks the federal election is the reason for the long break.

“The way I see it either Mr. Ford wants to be available to campaign for (federal Conservative Leader) Andrew Scheer, or Andrew Scheer’s asking Doug Ford to hide under a rock during the federal campaign,” she said.

Some polls suggest that Ford is unpopular and that may be hurting Scheer’s chances in Ontario ahead of the Oct. 21 election.

A spokesman for Scheer denied Horwath’s suggestion that the long break came at the federal leader’s request.

“Nobody in the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition was in touch with Premier Ford’s office about his decision to adjourn the legislature,” Daniel Schow wrote.

Two of Ford’s staffers recently left the premier’s office to work for Scheer.

“One of the things for sure that won’t be happening is we won’t be doing the business of Ontarians here in the legislature, which is Mr. Ford’s job,” said Horwath.

The government says that since its election one year ago, it has moved at an unprecedented pace, passing 20 bills – two on Thursday including one to cancel the the Ontario government’s contract with the Beer Store.

“We’ve been sitting for a long time,” said Government House Leader Todd Smith, noting the legislature sat through the summer after the election and for an extra week over the winter holiday.

“We’re very proud of all the accomplishments since we became the government of Ontario,” he said. “It’s time to go back to the drawing board and start coming up with how we’re going to fulfill the rest of our promises.”

Interim Liberal leader John Fraser says Ford’s priorities are out of whack.

“He can promote tailgating and mixed martial arts fighting in the fall economic statement and at the same time increase class sizes in the budget,” said Fraser. “He thinks being able to drink in the park at 9 a.m. is important but has no plan for climate change.”

Ottawa pledges to spend $15M to restore Ontario’s tree planting program

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 6th, 2019

The federal government promised Wednesday to spend $15 million over four years to save a tree-planting program in Ontario cancelled by Premier Doug Ford’s government.

Forests Ontario was informed in the wake of the Progressive Conservative government’s first budget in April that the program, with an annual budget of about $4.7 million, was being eliminated.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the program is an important part of fighting climate change.

“Planting trees means cleaner air, it means cleaner water, it means more habitat for animals and it also means good jobs,” she said Wednesday.

McKenna also slammed Ford for a host of other environmental cuts, including scrapping a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the green programs that were funded by it. She has criticized Ontario’s new climate plan as inadequate.

The money for the tree-planting program comes from Ottawa’s $420 million low-carbon economy fund, which was announced last year as a way to bypass the province and give money directly to institutions after Ontario scrapped cap and trade.

McKenna’s announcement comes less than five months from a federal election in which Ontario votes will play a key role.

“I think that that’s pretty obvious that the federal government wants to campaign against us in this federal election,” said Ontario Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski. “It’s not the first time they’ve done it.”

Yakabuski said private investors had stepped up in the wake of the cancellation with offers to fund the program, though he refused to say how much money was on the table.

“If private enterprise is ready to fill a gap, is that not preferable to the government putting taxpayers’ money into planting trees on private property, when private industry is willing to do it?” he said.

A spokeswoman for Yakabuski said the program had only planted 27 million trees since 2007, well short of its initial goal of 50 million trees by 2020.

Forests Ontario had said the program’s cancellation would cause job losses and stall environmental progress.

CEO Rob Keen said the program requires planning several years out for growing the seedlings, and he welcomed news of the federal funding.

“We’re just really, really pleased that we’re able to partner with you and move forward and continuing to keep this program going, continuing to allow us to do this long-term planning that allows these trees to be planted,” he said at McKenna’s announcement. “Without this the wheels, I’m afraid, would come off the program and we would just stall out.”

The program saved landowners up to 90 per cent of the costs of large-scale tree planting.

It was started as a carbon sequestration program, but planting that many trees also helps clean the air and water, protect shorelines and reduce erosion, Keen said.

About 40 per cent forest cover is needed to ensure forest sustainability, and the average right now in southern Ontario is 26 per cent, with some areas as low as five per cent, Keen has said.

Get ready Toronto, spring is here… sort of

Irene Preklet | posted Thursday, Jun 6th, 2019

With just two weeks and two days until summer officially begins, it’s hard to believe spring is already 77 days old.

It’s been a cool and rainy May and with June off to a similar start, you’ve likely gotten your money’s worth from that new umbrella and rain boots.

Nearly 100 millimetres of rain fell last month and the average temperature was about five degrees cooler than normal.

But according to Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson, the weekend is looking up.

“We’re well below normal temperature-wise over the last few days, the good news at least is, we’re breaking out of that pattern, at least for a few days to end off the work week and head into the weekend,” Coulson said.

The next few days may finally be the time to break out the shorts, tanks tops and sandals, but don’t expect it to last, as the wet and chilly weather is expected to continue post-weekend.

“This persistent pattern that we’ve been experiencing for the last couple of months is going to continue at least through a good part of the month of June, and that does mean overall somewhat cooler and wetter than normal conditions,” Coulson said.

The good news is, your patio furniture is likely sparkling clean and ready to use, even if it’s only for a few days.

And while fans heading to Jurassic Park for tonight’s game may want to wear an extra layer and pack an umbrella, warmer weather is in sight for Game 4 on Friday.

Unfortunately, when the Raptors’ bring it back home for Game 5 on Monday, the rain returns.

“I was scrambling around to try to find a model somewhere that was indicating what I think a lot of people are hoping for, which is as we get close to the official start of summer that we’re going to get more summer-like conditions, but unfortunately we’re not really seeing it,” Coulson said.

Leonard has 30 points as Raptors take 2-1 series lead with win over Warriors

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 6th, 2019

Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points, and Danny Green had six three-pointers and 18 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 123-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday.

The victory gives Toronto a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series heading into Game 4 on Friday.

Six Raptors scored in double figures. Kyle Lowry had 23 points and nine assists for the Raptors, who are making their NBA Finals debut. Pascal Siakam had 18 points, while Marc Gasol finished with 17, and Fred VanVleet had 11.

Stephen Curry had 47 points for the banged-up Warriors, who lost for the first time in six games at Oracle Arena.

“My dad used to tell me the stats don’t matter, just the final score,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said when asked about Curry’s big night. “So we’ll take the win and be thankful for that.

Green’s huge game ended a lengthy dry spell for the Raptors sharp-shooter, who made four three-pointers in the entire six-game Eastern Conference final against Milwaukee. Green has now made six or more three-pointers in three career NBA Finals games, the second most in history.

“Danny’s buckets I think boosted our whole team’s confidence because we’re kind of used to most of the year relying on those,” Nurse said. “I think that when he banked a couple there and then he kind of kept it going, I think it was just a huge confidence boost all around.”

The Raptors led virtually from outset, going up by 12 points in the first quarter, stretching it to 14 in the second, and 16 in the third to stun yellow-clad crowd, which hadn’t seen a loss at Oracle Arena since April 25 — Game 5 of the opening round of the playoffs versus the L.A. Clippers.

There was absolutely no letup by Toronto in one of its most consistent games of the post-season. With 29 seconds left in the third, Leonard dove to keep the ball inbounds after Lowry’s shot was blocked, then fired a deft pass to Green, who launched his sixth three-pointer of the game. Toronto took a 96-83 lead into the fourth.

The Raptors held their proverbial foot to Golden State’s throat in the fourth. A Serge Ibaka steal led to an easy Siakam dunk just three minutes into the quarter that set the tone for the final frame. Leonard drove to the hoop three minutes later to put Toronto up by 17 points.

A driving layup by Draymond Green sliced Toronto’s lead to 10 with 2:28 to play, but then Leonard, with Curry and Alfonzo McKinnie all over him, got a pass off to VanVleet, who drained a three-pointer as the shot clock buzzer sounded. The play with 1:37 left put the Raptors back up by 13 and sent many Warriors fans to the exits.

Virtually any fan left sitting departed when Gasol connected on a three with just over a minute to play. Toronto fans in attendance chanted “Let’s go Raptors!” over the game’s dying seconds.

The Warriors’ slogan is “Strength in Numbers.” But they were down in numbers on Wednesday.

Klay Thompson, one half of the Splash Brothers with Curry, was ruled out shortly before the game because of the left hamstring injury he suffered in Game 2. The Warriors were already without Kevin Durant and Kevon Looney because of injuries.

“We’ve just got to guard and play who’s out there,” Nurse said.

The Raptors have their own battle wounds. Lowry has been playing with a serious thumb injury since the conference semifinals, and Leonard, who played just nine games last season with San Antonio, has hobbled at times.

The Raptors captured Game 1 of the Finals 118-109, but dropped a 109-104 decision to Golden State in Game 2, allowing a 20-0 Warriors run that straddled the end of the second quarter and the first five minutes of the third — the longest run in NBA Finals history.

The Warriors, who swept Portland in the Western Conference final, were playing their first home game since May 16. Oracle Arena, which has seen the Warriors win four of the past five NBA titles, is in its final season as home of the Warriors. The team is moving to the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season.

Pockets of Raptors fans dotted the arena, enough to produce an audible “M-V-P!” chant when Leonard went to the free-throw line. There were also plenty of stars on hand including Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Vince Carter was in attendance as part of ESPN’s broadcast crew, a full-circle moment for the former Raptors star who won the dunk contest during NBA All-Star weekend at Oracle Arena in 2000, an event that helped put Toronto’s basketball team on the map.

Canadian Tenille Arts sang “O Canada,” while Metallica’s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett performed an electric guitar rendition of the American anthem. Rapper Lil Pump performed at halftime.

The Raptors led for all but 30 seconds of the first quarter, despite 17 points from Curry. A Siakam step-back shot capped a 13-3 Raptors run that put the Raptors up by 10. They stretched their advantage to 12 with 2:13 left in the quarter, and led 36-29 heading into the second.

Ibaka’s free throws had Toronto up by 14 points midway through the second. The Warriors responded with a 10-3 run to pull to within seven. The Raptors took a 60-52 lead into the halftime break.

The series returns to Toronto for Game 5 on Monday. A Game 6, if necessary, would be back in Oakland

Subway service resumes on Line 1 after five hour suspension

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jun 6th, 2019

Subway service on a major portion of Line 1 was disrupted for the better part of the afternoon Wednesday due to a damaged subway car.

Southbound service between Bloor-Yonge Station down to Union Station and northbound up to Osgoode Station was suspended around noon after power had to be cut when two trains suffered what the TTC calls damage to their power collection shoes.

Fifty-four passengers aboard the trains had to be evacuated and made the precarious walk back through the tunnel to Union station. No injuries were reported.

Frustrated commuters were left stranded in the rain waiting for information and buses to arrive.

“Not very well,” one lady tells CityNews when asked how TTC personnel were handling the situation. “There might be a shuttle bus, just go upstairs. What sort of information is that? One bus, how many people are standing here.”

“This is not the better way, there has to be another way. This happens so frequently that they really need to fix this.”

More than 300 street racing charges in GTA in May: OPP

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jun 5th, 2019

Despite the tough laws designed to discourage it, street racing remains a big problem in the GTA.

Provincial police laid more than 300 street racing charges on GTA highways in May, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a tweet on Monday.

These drivers were caught travelling more than 50 kilometres an hour over the posted speed limit, including one driving who was clocked at 192 kilometres an hour on Highway 403 in Mississauga.

Currently in Ontario, anyone caught driving more than 50 kilometres an hour above the speed limit will have their driver’s licence suspended and vehicle impounded for seven days. If convicted, drivers can be fined between $2,000 and $10,000, and could also serve six months in jail, along with a longer licence suspension.

The OPP also laid more than 100 impaired driving charges in May.

Back in April, the federal government announced it would give the province $17 million over five years to support various anti-drug driving initiatives. Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair said 40 per cent of all front line police officers in Ontario will have up-to-date standardized field sobriety testing skills by 2021.

Waterfront Toronto board vote on Sidewalk Labs pushed back several months

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 5th, 2019

Waterfront Toronto says a vote on whether to move forward on Sidewalk Labs’ contentious development project will be pushed back several months to allow for a thorough evaluation.

Spokesman Andrew Tumilty says Waterfront’s board vote on the Quayside development plan, scheduled for September, is now expected sometime in December or January.

Tumilty says the delay will allow the board to do a “full, through, and extensive evaluation process” of the development plan Sidewalk Labs is expected to submit later this month.

Waterfront Toronto, a collaboration between Toronto and the provincial and federal governments to oversee the city’s lakefront development, says it will publicly release the plan for a stretch of the city’s eastern waterfront within a week of receiving it.

Sidewalk, backed by Google parent Alphabet Inc., says its plan to develop the neighbourhood aims to address challenges like traffic, housing affordability and job creation and comes after consultations with over 20,000 city residents.

The proposed waterfront smart city has drawn criticism, lawsuits and calls to be scrapped over concerns of privacy, corporate overreach and a lack of transparency.

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