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3 children among 7 killed in small plane crash near Kingston

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Nov 29th, 2019

Seven people, including three children ranging in age from 6 to 16, are dead following a small plane crash north of the Kingston airport Wednesday night.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it is examining weather as a possible factor in a crash and indicated seating configurations on board the aircraft would figure into its ongoing investigation of the tragedy.

Ken Webster, the TSB investigator heading up the probe, said the aircraft was registered in the United States and had taken off from the Toronto area shortly before the crash, which occurred as the plane was approximately seven kilometres from its destination.

“There were seven people on board this aircraft,” Webster said at a news conference. “This type of aircraft has a provision for seven seats in some configurations, however we found six seats at the accident site…. We do look closely at this kind of information.”

Webster offered few details about the people on board the aircraft but Khudoyor Ortikov tells CityNews that his best friend of 20 years, Otabek Oblokulov, along with his wife and three kids, aged 16, 10 and 6, were on the plane along with his brother-in-law and his wife. The family of five were visiting Canada from Texas for the American Thanksgiving. Oblokulov was likely piloting the Piper PA-32.

Webster said the Board had also heard reports of deteriorating weather conditions in the area at around 5 p.m. when the plane crashed into a wooded area. He said those conditions would also be a part of the investigation.

A team of four TSB investigators would comb the wreckage of the Piper PA-32, which appears to have hit the ground at a “very steep” angle, he said.

Webster said early indications are that the plane was making plans to land in Kingston but was ultimately bound for Quebec City.

Const. Ash Gutheinz of the Kingston police said the area was under a wind advisory at the time, and while the conditions may not have been as bad as predicted, it was certainly “blustery.”

A spokesman for Canadian Forces Base Trenton, meanwhile, said a military helicopter dealt with high winds while it searched for the crash site.

Maj. Trevor Reid said the helicopter crew found the wreckage thanks to an emergency beacon on board the plane.

Residents in the area also noted there was heavy rain and strong winds around the time of the crash.

“I was amazed that anybody was even flying last night because there was lots of notice that this windstorm was coming,” said Rob Gibson, who lives near the site of the crash.

Gibson said in an interview he could hear a helicopter searching for the downed aircraft Wednesday night, but didn’t hear any sounds from the crash itself.

The TSB says while this aircraft does not require installation of a flight data recorder, there may be other devices on board that will be able to provide information leading up to the crash.

Eaton Centre shooter back in court for sentencing hearing

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 29th, 2019

The sentencing hearing for the Eaton Centre shooter is expected to continue on Friday.

Christopher Husbands was found guilty earlier this year of two counts of manslaughter in the 2012 mall shooting that killed two and injured six people.

His sentencing hearing began in August and has since gained attention for its notably lengthy and drawn out process.

Husbands’ defense is now arguing that he should be granted extra credit for time-served because of difficult prison conditions. He’s been behind bars for the past seven years.

Prosecutors, however, are asking for the maximum sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

Husbands admitted at trial that he was the shooter but his lawyers argued he should be found not criminally responsible due to mental illness. The Crown acknowledged Husbands suffered from PTSD due to a stabbing months earlier but said he was carrying out a vendetta against his attackers.

The trial was Husbands’ second in connection with the shooting. The first one saw him convicted of second-degree murder after being charged with first-degree.

Ontario’s court of appeal overturned that ruling and ordered a new trial after finding the judge had made an error in law regarding jury selection.

Toronto lights up first weekend of December

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 29th, 2019

The first weekend of December and the city is marking it with the annual Cavalcade of Lights, including the highly-anticipated lighting of the Nathan Phillips Square Tree. The holiday season barrels ahead with a multitude of events across Toronto.

Events

Toronto’s official tree lighting

The city will be decked with boughs of holly on Saturday for the Cavalcade of Lights. The 50-foot tree will be lit at Nathan Phillips Square just after 8 p.m. but the event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with a pre-show skating music and live music. The tree will be decorated with 525,000 energy-efficient lights and 500 ornaments. After the tree lighting, stick around for some more live music and circus acts, another skating party and a fireworks show.

Hanukkah market of fun

The holiday of Hanukkah arrives in less than a month, so it is time for a celebration at NoshFest — a Hanukkah market taking place at Artscape Wychwood Barns on Sunday. The market includes Jewish food vendors and traditional treats, as well as artists and artisans, live music and cooking demos.

A holiday village in the city

Experience the homey feel of the holidays in a big city at the historic Brick Works. As part of Evergreen’s Winter Village, which starts on Saturday and runs until Dec. 22, check out the holiday market, enjoy some warm drinks and comforting treats, and take a skate on the outdoor rink.

Swim like a polar bear

It is not for everyone but some will be taking the plunge in the cold waters of Woodbine Beach on Saturday for a charitable polar bear dip. Brainfreeze raises awareness and money for youth mental health. Money raised from the event will go to Jack.org’s youth mental health programs. After the polar dip, everyone will celebrate their accomplishments at a local pub.

Christmas at the castle

Holiday magic will be all around you at Casa Loma’s A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle. If you love Christmas trees, you will have nine decorated ones to marvel at including a 40-foot tree in the Great Hall. The festivities start on Sunday and continue until Jan. 5. The castle will be adorned with plenty of other decorations, as well as Santa’s workshop, and starting on Dec. 15, an outdoor holiday market and a lights display in the gardens.

Road closures

Cavalcade of Lights

Queen Street West from Yonge Street to University Avenue, and Bay Street from Dundas Street West to Richmond Street, will be closed from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. Click here for a full list of the closures. The 501 Queen streetcar and the 6 Bay bus routes will be diverting in the area.

Transit

Partial Line 1 closure

Subways won’t be running on Line 1 between Lawrence and St Clair stations stations this weekend due to signal upgrades. Shuttle buses and Wheel-Trans service will be running. Riders travelling south who require an elevator should exit the train at York Mills Station.

Holiday retail season ramps up with Black Friday

ANNE D’INNOCENZIO AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 29th, 2019

This is Black Friday — a day that not so long ago had no significance in Canada — but today it does.

Canadian shoppers craving a deal increasingly turn to the sales bonanza imported from America, where retailers long slashed prices the day after their Thanksgiving holiday — at the expense of another sales spree in Canada — Boxing Day.

The shift comes as consumers increasingly plan to spend before Christmas and check gifts off their holiday lists, industry watchers say, and the change offers retailers a slight edge.

Michael Leblanc, a senior retail adviser with the Retail Council of Canada, says Black Friday now fills a Canadian need.

He says it gives consumers the chance to secure deals on presents rather than shop after the gift-giving season is over.

Forty-three per cent of respondents to the group’s second annual holiday shopping survey planned to purchase items today — up from 40 per cent the previous year.

Only 34 per cent of respondents intended to shop on Boxing Day.

A survey by Deloitte Canada showed a similar disenchantment with the Boxing Day sales day.

84-year-old man critically injured in hit-and-run dies

News Staff | posted Thursday, Nov 28th, 2019

An 84-year-old man who was struck by a vehicle last Friday night has died in hospital.

Police said the man suffered life-threatening injuries after he was struck while crossing St. Clair Avenue West near Christie Street at around 11:21 p.m.

Police say the driver of the vehicle slowed down for a moment before fleeing the scene westbound on St. Clair. It has been described as a blue Volkswagen SUV, possibly an Atlas or Tiguan model, with Ontario license plate CKKE 113.

Investigators say the vehicle likely has front-end damage.

Police are still seeking security or dash cam footage from anyone in the area or who may have witnessed incident to contact investigators.

The unidentified man is the 54th traffic fatality of 2019.

Suspect in three feces-throwing incidents makes court appearance

News Staff | posted Thursday, Nov 28th, 2019

A 23-year-old man charged in three separate incidents in which a bucket of feces was dumped on a person over the past four days made a brief court appearance on Wednesday.

Samuel Opoku was arrested in the Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue area on Tuesday evening following tips from the public.

A police source told 680 NEWS the suspect was arrested at a shelter after someone recognized him from photos and called authorities.

Opoku has been charged with five counts each of assault with a weapon and mischief interfering with property.

The first incident happened at the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library on Friday, where a man assaulted a woman and a young person and poured a bucket of “liquefied fecal matter” he was carrying onto them while they were seated in the library.

In the second incident, a man assaulted a man and woman at York University’s Scott Library and again dumped a bucket of feces on one of them on Sunday around 5 p.m.

The third incident occurred outside a building at the University of Toronto shortly before midnight on Monday. Investigators once again said a bucket of feces was dumped on a female on the street. The orange bucket from Home Depot was left at the scene.

Close to 100 people, including a number of students from the University of Toronto, showed up for the hearing which necessitated an almost six hour delay as officials looked for a bigger court room which could handle the unusually high number of spectators.

Once inside, they watched as Opoku – dressed in a blue denim shirt, grey pants and wearing no shoes but only socks – sat with his head down in the holding box throughout the proceeding.

The judge has issued a publication ban in the case and ordered Opoku to return for a bail hearing next Tuesday.

Outside court, Opoku’s lawyer Jordan Weisz noted there was little he could share due to a publication ban protecting information presented during a bail hearing, but said he understands the degree of interest in the case.

“As things progress, I’ll certainly be prepared and willing to provide information to the public, who understandably is concerned and interested to get the full story,” he said. “Obviously the public doesn’t have the full story at this point.”

Asked whether his client had any underlying mental health issues, Weisz noted “the nature of the allegations suggests that,” but declined to provide more details other than to say Opoku was shocked by the allegations against him.

“He was in shock, I think that’s probably a fair characterization,” he said. “Understandably, to say the least, it’s not a pleasant situation to be sitting in a courtroom with the public scrutiny that he’s currently having to endure.”

First-year student Tina Yang says curiosity drove her to the courtroom on Wednesday, adding she wanted to get a sense of the reasons behind his alleged actions.

“During the first incident, we thought it was a joke,” Yang said outside the courtroom. “We thought it was funny and disgusting. But then there was the second and the third one, so we thought it was getting terrifying.”

“There were students from Ryerson, from U of T, York. It was interesting how we kind of united on this,” said Ruth Masuka, a second-year U of T student who waited upwards of four hours for Opoku to appear.

The students bonded over the fear that they might have been the next victim, she said, noting that tensions were already high due to impending exams.

“Every space is unsafe. It was a very public setting,” Masuka said. “It’s just a recipe for a scary energy.”

Felipe Santos, a recent grad who still spends a lot of time on the University of Toronto campus that was the scene of one attack, said most people who turned up for the hearing were “morbidly curious.”

“I felt a bit of the fear that everybody felt, so I was here out of curiosity of what would bring somebody to do this kind of thing,” said Santos.

Flames coach Bill Peters apologizes for using ‘offensive language’

News Staff | posted Thursday, Nov 28th, 2019

Bill Peters has apologized for using “offensive language” in a letter to the Calgary Flames organization.

In the letter addressed to general manager Brad Treliving, which was released to multiple news outlets Wednesday night, Peters called the incident isolated but accepted responsibility for what he said.

“The statement was made in a moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values,” Peters said. “After the incident, I was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team. I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words.”

This is the first time Peters has addressed the incident since it surfaced earlier in this week.

In the letter Peters did not specifically apologize or mention Akim Aliu, who wrote that Peters directed racial slurs towards him when both were with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League in 2009-10.

“I meant no disrespect in what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular,” said Peters. “It was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry.”

When contacted by Sportsnet to see if he wanted to respond to Peters’ apology, Aliu declined.

Peters said he appreciated and fully supported the thorough review of the situation currently being undertaken by the Flames.

“I accept the reality of my actions. I do believe that we must strive to act with integrity, and to take accountability for what we say and do.”

Treliving confirmed to reporters after Wednesday’s game that he had received the letter from Peters.

“We want to make sure we are doing a thorough job and looking under every stone, rock, and doing all the things that need to be done. So the letter tonight is part of this that we will obviously review,” he said. “And I’m hopeful that we will have an update for you tomorrow.”

Peters remained employed by the Flames as of Wednesday night.

The Flames attempted to keep things tight to the vest as they continued their investigation Wednesday, but one of Peters’ former assistants added to the intense scrutiny.

Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who spent four seasons behind Carolina’s bench with Peters, confirmed his boss confronted players in a physical manner.

“It for sure happened, the two issues that are in question,” Brind’Amour told reporters in New York before his team’s game against the Rangers.

Another former player has alleged Peters kicked him and punched a teammate when they were all with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peters did not address the two physical altercations that allegedly occurred in Carolina in 2015-16 in his apology.

 

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