Prom is on!

Posted By: Siobhan Morris · 2/6/2013 10:30:00 PM

Prom is on.

That's the message from the Toronto District School Board.

Students had been worried the end of the year bashes could be in danger.  This as public high school teachers are refusing to take part in extracurricular activities as a show of protest against the provincial government & Bill 115.

At a meeting Wednesday, Acting Director of Education Donna Quan pledged the TDSB's support for proms & says staff, including superintendents, are ready to sub in for teachers as chaperones.

Trustee Pamela Gough had put forward a motion, asking for similar support but withdrew it.  Gough says she didn't know that 98% of the board's high schools have been quietly planning proms without the help of teachers all along.

Gough says prom is especially important to the class of 2013, having already missed out on half a year of sports teams, clubs & dances.

Student trustee Kourosh Houshmand says the "symbolic ...

Kachkar Trial Day 3

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/6/2013 8:32:00 PM

The first fellow officer to find Sgt. Ryan Russell dying on a snowy street after he was mowed down by a snowplow told him to hold on as she cradled him and felt his fleeting last breaths.

There was blood everywhere and she couldn't find a pulse, Sgt. Sarah Andrews testified Wednesday.

She was one of several witnesses who testified at the trial of Richard Kachkar, 46, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and dangerous driving in the death of the 35-year-old Toronto police officer.

Witnesses said Russell tried in vain to stop the plow, backing away and firing shots at it in the seconds before it crashed into him.

The impact knocked Russell over and spun his body toward the centre of the plow and its blade struck him in the head fracturing his skull, court heard.

Witnesses called 911 and Andrews and her partner arrived first, racing over to a man lying face down on the ...

Video: Sgt. Ryan Russell's Dashboard Camera

Posted By: Russ Courtney · 2/6/2013 7:04:00 PM

*Warning: Content May Be Disturbing*

Newly released video from Sgt. Ryan Russell's dashboard video camera shows the moments before the 35 year-old was struck by a stolen snow plow January 12th, 2011.

The video was played in court on the second day of proceedings and the jury saw what the veteran cop saw as he approached the vehicle.

The recording starts at Avenue Rd. and Bloor St. and follows Russell as he heads northbound on Avenue.

Russell is not seen on camera. 

Richard Kachkar is charged with first degree murder and dangerous driving in his death. His trial began this week and is expected to last two months.

Toronto still in the grips of flu season

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/6/2013 3:30:00 PM

A new report from Toronto Public Health shows the city is still in the grips of flu season.

In Week 5, a total of 159 new lab-confirmed cases have been reported, down from the peak level seen in Week 1.

There are 4 new institutional outbreaks, affecting senior's homes, special care facilities, and long-term care homes.

So far this season, 66 people have died from confirmed and suspected cases.

Audio: Sgt. Ryan Russell's Final Radio Call

Posted By: Russ Courtney · 2/6/2013 5:27:00 PM

Sgt. Ryan Russell's final radio call from January 12th, 2011 has been released to the public for the first time.

On Tuesday, the audio was played in court on the second day of the first degree murder trial of Richard Kachkar, charged in the death of the 35 year-old.

It details Russell's movements as her heads towards a stolen snowplow.

*Warning: Content may be disturbing*


AUDIO: The lost art of winter driving

Posted By: James Moore · 2/6/2013 4:22:00 PM

Toronto-area drivers are likely going to have to contend with a snow storm as they make their way home on Thursday afternoon.

Up to 20 centimetres of accumulation is expected for the GTA, and even more is in the forecast for the surrounding areas.

Having to drive on snow and ice is not as common as it once was in Southern Ontario, and that could mean commuters' skills behind the wheel aren't as sharp as they used to be.

Young Drivers of Canada Education Director Scott Marshall says today's drivers often put too much trust in their vehicle's traction control systems.

"They believe that their vehicle can do it and they will stop on a dime but in reality, it doesn't.  Its not a 'drive it all' car.  If you apply you brakes late, you apply your brakes late.  If you're going too fast, you're going too fast.  The car ...

Report: Secret To Fixing Price Gap? Tariffs

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/6/2013 4:08:00 PM

A Senate committee says Ottawa should launch a comprehensive review of tariffs as a way of narrowing the price gap
between Canadian and U.S. consumer goods.

The committee says Canadian consumers feel ripped off by higher prices in Canada, but the problem is not as simple as it appears.

It cites factors like the different size in the market and the fact that suppliers often charge Canadian retailers more than
counterparts in the U.S.

But it also notes that many witnesses pointed the finger at import tariffs applied by the federal government on imports of
consumer goods, which can sometimes reach as high as 18 per cent.

Prior to the report's release, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the government has been looking into tariffs, particularly on
consumer goods, to see if they can be lowered or eliminated.

The report predicts that as competition increases and more consumers become price-savvy, the ...

You Like It. You Really, Really Like It!

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/6/2013 3:38:00 PM

The BlackBerry company says it is smashing its own sales records with the launch of its new smartphones, but just how
many units it has sold is a still a secret.

The Waterloo-based company issued an enthusiastic statement on Wednesday which said it had the ``best day ever for the first day of a launch.''

President and CEO Thorsten Heins says first day sales were 50 per cent better than any other launch day in its history in Canada.

But the company declined to say how many of its new BlackBerry Z10 devices actually landed in customer's hands across the country.

In the U.K., the company said that sales for the first week were ``close to three times our best performance,'' though it would not
disclose the tally of sales for previous BlackBerry launches in the region.

A successful rollout of the new devices is considered crucial for the company, ...

18 Year Old Stabbed Near Dixon And Kipling

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 2/6/2013 3:29:00 PM

An 18 year old boy is on his way to hospital, after he was stabbed several times in the forehead in the Dixon Road and and Kipling area.

The call came into Toronto Police around 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon.

Cops say the boy is expected to live.

No arrests have been made and police are urging anyone who saw anything to give them all.

Man Accused of Killing Kera Freeland In Court

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 2/6/2013 3:02:00 PM

The man accused of killing 20 year old Kera Freeland was in court on Wednesday.

35 year old Christopher Andronakos was brought back to Toronto from Calgary, where he was arrested.

He's accused of murdering his former roommate, then dumping the 20 year old's body in a ditch.

There are reports now that Freeland may have been pregnant at the time and may have also had cervical cancer.

Andronakos has been charged with second degree murder, and is back before a judge on February 14th.

TCHC Launching Investigation Into Alleged Wrongdoing Involving Maintenance Staff

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 2/6/2013 12:05:00 PM

The head of Toronto Community Housing says he's heard too many stories that 'deeply disturb him'.

Now, Eugene Jones, the President and CEO of TCHC is launching an investigation into what he calls 'alleged improprieties and wrongdoing involving some staff and vendors who do repairs and maintenance' for the corporation.

Jones says he's heard stories of repairs that had to be done two or three times because of shoddy work, stories about small repairs that were never done and turned into expensive repairs and stories of employees cutting corners resulting in higher costs.

But at the end of last year, he says he received an anonymous tip that pointed out the alleged wrongdoing.

Jones, with the blessing of the board chair, has hired a third party firm to conduct a review of the processes and practices for hiring vendors who do repairs for TCHC, to determine whether or not they ...

TDSB to Discuss Fate of High School Proms

Posted By: Suzette Francis · 2/6/2013 11:47:00 AM

Toronto public high school students will find out on Wednesday if they can have their prom, with the help of school staff, other than teachers.

The province's public school teachers have refused to oversee extra-curricular activities in protest over the Putting Students First Act that limits their rights to negotiate and strike.

Toronto District School Board trustee Pamela Gough is presenting a motion at the meeting Wednesday night, to allow graduating students to have their prom, if principals and support staff oversee the event.

Gough says attending prom is a once in a life time experience for students and that it will make up for some of the activities that students have already missed.

Some school boards like York and Peel are going ahead with proms and graduation events without the teachers assisting.

In order for the motion to pass at the TDSB meeting, 12 of the 22 elected trustees ...

Cash Store to Request License Appeal Hearing

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/6/2013 11:12:00 AM

The Cash Store Financial Services Inc. says it will request a hearing before Ontario's Licence Appeal Tribunal over its payday lending licences.

The Edmonton-based company says Ontario's registrar for payday loans has issued a proposal to revoke the payday lending licences of its Cash Store Inc. and Instaloans Inc. businesses.

However, Cash Store Financial Services said it no longer offers payday loans in the province since introducing its line of credit products.

The ministry is scheduled to hold a press conference today, where it's expected to outline its case against the company.

Cash Store Financial Services said since September 2011, the Consumer Protection Branch of Ontario's Ministry of Consumer Affairs has attempted to force its companies to deliver payday loans in cash, rather than the electronic methods they now use.

The company said it's unwilling to place employees and customers at risk by handling cash.

Cash Store Financial Services said ...

Man Taken to Hospital Following Shooting

Posted By: Suzette Francis · 2/6/2013 7:32:00 AM

Toronto police are investigating after a man was shot in Regent Park on Wednesday morning.

Emergency crews were called to an apartment building at 220 Oak Street in the River Street and Gerrard Street East area shortly before 7 a.m.

EMS tells NewsTalk 1010 that the man who is in his 40's was shot at least twice in the upper torso.

He was treated at the scene and taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was said to be conscious and breathing when police and EMS arrived at the scene.

The man is believed to have made the 911 call himself but police have not confirmed that.

Police are looking for at least one suspect but haven't provided a description.

Mixing alcohol with diet soda will get you drunker, faster

Posted By: Michelle Rosa · 2/6/2013 5:50:00 AM

Next time you have a cocktail party to attend, keep this in mind.

A new study shows mixing alcohol with diet pop, makes your drink more potent than if you were to use full-calorie pop.

The study out of the U.S. was released in the journal Alcoholism. Scientists at Northern Kentucky University asked students who were social drinkers to come to their lab on separate days to test the effects of alcohol.

Researchers found that mixing alcohol with sugar-free soft drinks resulted in a higher breath alcohol content than mixing alcohol with a regular soft drink. The theory as to why this happens, is because the sugar-containing drinks stimulate your stomach the way food does.  It delays digestion, which also slows down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.

However, with diet soda, the alcohol absorbs into your bloodstream much quicker because of the lack of sugar, in turn, making ...

Storm expected to bring 15 centimetres of snow

Posted By: James Moore · 2/6/2013 5:00:00 PM

A winter storm will hit the Toronto area just in time to complicate the tail end of Thursday's drive home and the Friday morning commute to work.

Environment Canada has a winter storm water, saying two weather systems, an Alberta clipper and a low pressure system coming up from Texas, will combine to bring significant snowfall to most of southern Ontario starting Thursday evening and will continue into Friday morning.

About 2-3 centimetres of snow is expected on Thursday night but accumulation will ramp up into Friday morning.

"I'm guessing there will be about 15 centimetres of snow in the GTA.  In one day, that's the most we've had in 2 years," says forecaster Dave Phillips.

Environment Canada is uncertain about the exact track of the storm, which will affect the timing and snow amounts for each surrounding regions.

(with files from Suzette Francis)

Convicted cabbies still driving on city streets

Posted By: Michelle Rosa · 2/6/2013 5:51:00 AM

A scathing indictment of how the city of Toronto deals with taxi cab drivers, especially cabbies who break the law.

It seems the city has an honour system for convicted cabbies to report their crimes and the city only checks a driver's criminal and driving record every four years.

The information has been unearthed by a Toronto Star investigation.

It states that there are 255 cabbies who were charged with various offences in the past five years, but are still collecting fares because of a plea bargain made at a civilian appeals tribunal.

Some of the convictions they have faced include stunt racing, failing to stop for a school bus, failing to remain, drunk driving and even assault. Only 53 taxi drivers were denied their taxi license within that time span.

Cab drivers are expected to report any of their own criminal or highway traffic convictions, meaning that the city ...

UPDATE: Small tsunami hits Solomon Islands after earthquake

Posted By: Michelle Rosa · 2/6/2013 5:40:00 AM

A powerful earthquake Wednesday off the Solomon Islands generated a small tsunami that damaged dozens of homes and left several people missing and presumed dead in the South Pacific island chain.

Authorities cancelled tsunami warnings on more distant coasts.

Solomons officials reported two 1.5-metre waves hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island, damaging between 70 and 80 homes and properties, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. Many villagers had headed to higher ground as a precaution, Herming said.

Solomon Islands Police Commissioner John Lansley said local police patrols reported that several people were presumed dead, though the reports were still being verified.
``Sadly, we believe some people have lost their lives,'' he said. ``At the moment we potentially know of four, but there may of course be more.''
Four villages on Santa Cruz were hit by the waves, with two facing severe damage, Lansley said. ...

Video: Emotional Second Day at Kachkar Trial

Posted By: Russ Courtney · 2/6/2013 5:45:00 AM

Sgt. Ryan Russell's final moments were both seen and heard in courtroom 4-9 at 361 University Avenue Tuesday on Day 2 of Richard Kachkar's first degree murder trial.

Christine Russell, Ryan's widow, wiped away tears as she and the rest of the courtroom watched dashboard video from his police cruiser as he drove northbound on Avenue Rd. January 12th, 2011 in search of a stolen snowplow driven by Richard Kachkar.

The video begins at Avenue and Bloor, just after Russell had one of the final conversations of his life, with airport limo driver Salman Akbar.

In his testimony to the court, Akbar said his car (travelling westbound on Bloor) had been struck by the snowplow heading south on Avenue during a left turn onto Bloor.

Akbar testified that he waved down Sgt. Russell, but the 35 year-old father of a two year old son spoke before Akbar could.

"Is it ...

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