Fire Guts Malvern Home

Posted By: David Woodard · 2/28/2013 9:45:00 PM

It appears a single mother and her four children are without a home after a devastating house fire in Malvern Thursday night.

Toronto fire officials say they were notified of the blaze just before 7 o'clock p.m on Kessack Court near Neilson and Sheppard.

When they arrived the house was fully involved.  The roof partially collapsed, and the first floor of the building had burned through.

3 dogs in the house weren't able to escape.

It's not clear what sparked the blaze but the homeowner claims there had been electrical fires in the past.

Investigators from the Ontario Fire Marshals office will attend the scene.

Evidence: Kachkar's Kardashian Business Plans

Posted By: Russ Courtney · 2/28/2013 6:14:00 PM

As a forensic psychiatrist told the jury about his impressions of Richard Kachkar's mental state on Day 14 of his murder trial he also went into detail about his background and personality, giving court details about some of Kachkar's failed business ideas.

Dr. Philip Klassen described him as "a dreamer that could not make it happen."

Some of Kachkar's ``grandiose'' business schemes involved the Kardashian sisters, a pizzeria, a bakery for dogs and a Russian submarine.

Among Kachkar's possessions were pages of hand-written notes of plans for architecture, banking, commerce and information technology business ventures with thetabloid-fodder Kardashian family.

Klassen said when he asked Kachkar about the notes he "normalized'' the plans, talking about their shared Armenian heritage.

Kachkar also hoped to flip houses, but eventually lost properties he had purchased in the US due to unpaid taxes.

(With files from the Canadian Press)

TTC unveils 1st customer charter

Posted By: Siobhan Morris · 2/28/2013 4:55:00 PM

The TTC is out with their 1st ever customer charter.

CEO Andy Byford calls it a list of "promises" to riders with the goal of developing a transit system Toronto can be proud of.

Together the 31 commitments for 2013 are meant to develop a more accessible & modern, clean, informative, responsive & renewed TTC.

Among the promises:

-Quarterly reports on the reliability of every subway, bus & streetcar route.
-TTC staff picking up the phone within 90 seconds, returning 95% t of calls within 5 days.
-Testing Wi-Fi on the platforms of Yonge-Bloor & St. George stations
-More next vehicle & station information screens
-A new TTC system map
-Start of employee uniform redesign
-Finishing the modernization of Pape Station
-A mass power-washing of bus bays, passenger drop off points and station entrances

Byford says the charter is a way to show the TTC's management team expects to be ...

#BREAKING ETFO Teachers Not Resuming Extra Curricular Activities

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 2/28/2013 4:36:00 PM

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario says they won't change their current stance, when it comes to encouraging teachers to take part in extra curricular activities. The union released a statement today.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is hoping that positive discussions held with the provincial government will turn into concrete actions.

“While we have experienced a marked and welcome change in the Wynne government’s approach to addressing its relationship with teachers, this has yet to translate into real change,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “In these circumstances, ETFO’s advice regarding voluntary/ extra-curricular activities remains unchanged.”

“Beyond the initial commitments made by the government team to listen, engage in positive dialogue and explore a more inclusive process for future bargaining rounds, it is going to take real actions to regain the confidence of members in light of the very flawed process during 2012 that resulted in the loss ...

Pothole Fixes Ramping Up

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 2/28/2013 4:21:00 PM

Bent rims, flat tires and torn up suspension.

Those are all joys caused by potholes.

And yes, there are more of them this year than last.

Director of Toronto Transportation Services, Peter Noehammer says they are noticing them as well, and trying to fix them as they're found.

But he admits they've been busy with the snow the past few weeks, especially with this most recent storm.

But Noehammer says they will start ramping up efforts in the war against potholes, starting on Monday.

He says they haven't been caused by the storms, but because of the recent swings in temperatures. Most of the time when the frost starts going out of the ground, that's when potholes start forming.

During the last three years, the City of Toronto has repaired an average of 200,000 potholes per year. The City spends approximately $4 million per year to fix potholes.

If you ...

Argos Milanovich CFL's Top Coach

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 2/28/2013 3:05:00 PM

Scott Milanovich of the Grey Cup-champion Toronto Argonauts is the CFL's coach of the year.

Milanovich received the award at a luncheon Thursday.

John Hufnagel of the Calgary Stampeders and Mike Benevides of the B.C. Lions were the other finalists.

Voting was conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada.

Milanovich is the second Argo to capture the award in three years.

Current GM Jim Barker claimed the 2010 honour.

Toronto finished second in the East Division with a 9-9 record under its rookie head coach.

Following playoff wins over Edmonton and Montreal, the Argos capped their season by downing Calgary 35-22 in the 100th Grey Cup game at Rogers Centre.

*UPDATE* Former Harper strategist: Looking at child porn shouldn't be a crime

Posted By: Siobhan Morris · 2/28/2013 3:32:00 PM

Tom Flanagan says he's sorry.

In a statement attributed to Flanagan and posted on the CBC website, the frequent panellist on the network says he absolutely condemns child sex abuse and that he chose his words poorly while discussing the matter in an academic setting.

The apology comes after the former Stephen Harper strategist & campaign manager came under fire for suggesting that looking at child pornography shouldn't be a crime.

Flanagan, made the comments at a community lecture in southern Alberta Wednesday night, a video of which was posted to YouTube.

In it, Flanagan is asked about remarks he made regarding child pornography in 2009.

"I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters,'' he responded. "But I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures,'' he said as the audience booed.

He went on to explain that he doesn't look at ...

The Pope Officially Steps Down

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/28/2013 2:12:00 PM

Benedict XVI has become the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate shaped by struggles to move the church past sex abuse scandals and to reawaken Christianity in an indifferent world.

The Swiss Guards standing at attention in Castel Gandolfo shut the gates of the palazzo shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday (2 o'clock our time) symbolically closing the doors on a papacy whose legacy will be most marked by the way it ended, a resignation instead of a death.

In a final farewell to his cardinals as pope, Benedict tried to dispel concerns about the unprecedented future awaiting the Catholic
Church, with one reigning and one retired pope living side-by-side.

He pledged his ``unconditional reverence and obedience'' to his successor.

Update: Psychiatrist Takes Stand in Kachkar Trial

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/28/2013 5:55:00 PM

A man on trial for killing a Toronto police officer was psychotic when he rammed into the Sgt. Ryan Russell with a stolen snow plow and may be schizophrenic, court heard Thursday.

Richard Kachkar, 44, appears to have been suffering for several years from a ``low-grade'' mental illness with periodic spikes, such as in 2006 when he woke up in the middle of the night screaming that he was possessed by the devil and slapped his wife, a psychiatrist testified.

There was also a ``very serious'' exacerbation not long before Kachkar killed Sgt. Ryan Russell on Jan. 12, 2011, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Philip Klassen said.

``I formed the opinion that from a purely psychiatric perspective I felt that on the balance of probabilities he was not able to appreciate the nature and quality of his actions or their rightness or wrongness,'' Klassen said.

Kachkar's symptoms do not fit neatly into ...

*UPDATE* Police Release Photo of Alleged Subway Stabber

Posted By: Newstalk 1010 · 2/28/2013 1:16:00 PM

Police have released a photo and identification of the man wanted in the stabbing on the subway last night.

Toronto Police were called at 10:20 on Wednesday night to reports a man had been stabbed in the throat in a random attack.

Cops are now looking for 20 year old Cassim Celani Cummings, and say he's wanted for Attempted Murder, two counts of Breach of Probation, Carry Concealed Weapon, Aggravated Assault, Assault with a Weapon, Weapons Dangerous.

He is considered armed and dangerous.

The 35 year old victim is expected to live.

Related Content: 

Man stabbed on subway train in unprovoked attack

UPDATE: VIDEO: Premier Wants Expanded Gas Plant Document Search

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 2/28/2013 3:03:00 PM

An attempt to broaden the scope of a committee looking into the gas plant cancellations has been ruled out of order.

Earlier in the day, the premier underlined she wants to delve deeper into the planning and why the cancellations in Mississauga and Oakville happened in the first place.

However, the justice committee says it can't adjust its own parameters, noting that's something only the legislature can do.  The Tories rushed to call this motion drawn up by Kathleen Wynne a delay tactic by the Liberals.

Along with expanding what the committee can look into, Wynne says she wants to make a list of files available from across the government, including the premier's office. Over 56,000 documents have already been released.

It's something opposition had been calling for.

In Question Period, the Tories called the Liberals out, claiming the government is now admitting more documents exists. But Wynne maintains the ...

Province Waits for ETFO Decision on Extra Curriculars

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 2/28/2013 11:02:00 AM

The premier has no idea what the province's public elementary teachers will decide when it comes to extra curricular activities.

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) gave itself a Friday deadline to decide whether or not they would continue to instruct union members to continue with the job action.

Kathleen Wynne says she hasn't had a conversation with union heads about the issue on Thursday, so she can't predict what the decision will be.

Wynne hopes she hopes extra curriculars will come back in the province's elementary schools.

Ontario's public high school teachers union announced last week that it would instruct members to participate in things like drama clubs and sporting events again.

The two unions had been holding them back to protest Bill 115, which led to the province imposing contracts on them.

VIDEOS: Building Collapses on Excavator During Demolition at Algo Mall

Posted By: Suzette Francis · 2/28/2013 11:25:00 AM

As the public inquiry into the Algo Mall collapse in Elliot Lake sets to begin on Monday, there are videos surfacing that show another collapse as the demolition crew tears the building down.

The Ministry of Labour was called in to investigate the incident but says the part of the building collapsed on top of an unmanned excavator, however the videos show someone running out from under the rubble.

The inquiry is expected to last several months and Justice Paul Belanger who will be overseeing it will have a year and a half to release his findings.

Another revelation also finds that the engineer who oversaw the design of the structure, botched so later projects, and as a result he was fined $25-thousand, and stripped of his license.

Two women were killed in the collapse.

Wynne Defends Fundraiser

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 2/28/2013 11:01:00 AM

Fundraising is part of the political game.

That's from Kathleen Wynne after it was revealed an invitation for a $5,000 a plate dinner for those in the energy sector was sent out, wit the Premier as its guest of honour.

All funds would go to the Liberal party.

Wynne underlines she meets with people from across the province all the time.

The March 27th event is being held at the Rosewater restaurant in Toronto, with only 22 tickets available. The invitation was sent out by the Ontario Energy Association.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli will also be at the fundraiser.

A similar event was held for PC leader Tim Hudak.

*UPDATE* Mayor accused of continuing to lobby for donations

Posted By: Dave Bradley · 2/28/2013 12:17:00 PM

New allegations that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is still lobbying city hall lobbyists trying to get them to donate money to his charitable foundation.

The Toronto Star has been shown the plain letterhead fundraising letters sent to at least 2 lobbyists, with the Mayor's signature on them.

The executive director of the Residential and Civil Constructions Alliances of Ontario got his letter January 28th, just three days after the Mayor won his appeal in the conflict of interest case that sprang from his solicitation of donations from lobbyists 4 years ago.

Andy Manahan is quoted as calling this a Ford "indiscretion" but one less serious than others . In his words "you never know what a mayor's office could do to put a monkey wrench into your dealings with the city."

The Mayor is in Florida and his people have not responded to a Star request for comment but councillor ...

Pope Benedict XVI begins final day as pontiff

Posted By: Michelle Rosa · 2/28/2013 5:37:00 AM

Pope Benedict XVI has greeted his cardinals for the last time as pontiff, beginning a quiet final day as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics before flying off into retirement.

No major speech was planned during Thursday's farewell to his closest advisers. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the cardinals, thanked Benedict for his service.

Around 5 p.m., Benedict will leave the palace for the last time as pontiff, head to the helicopter pad on the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict becomes the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The doors of the palazzo will shut and the Swiss Guards in attendance will go off duty.

How does the Catholic Church even get a new pope? Well, the current one either dies or resigns. Then the church holds a papal conclave and cardinals ...

Man stabbed on subway train in unprovoked attack

Posted By: Michelle Rosa · 2/28/2013 5:40:00 AM

A man in his 30's was rushed to hospital last night after being stabbed on board a subway train.

Police say he was stabbed in the neck in an unprovoked attack by another man, just before 10:30.

The train came to a stop at the Davisville station after the passenger assistance alarm was activated.

Police say the suspect was going from passenger to passenger and yelling in their faces. The victim was slashed in the neck when he stood up after being approached by the suspect.

Police are searching for a black man, 30 -32 years of age  6'0 to 6'2, with a thin build. He was wearing a black toque, black pants, black jacket with a hoodie, and carrying a white plastic bag. Police consider the suspect to be armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Police at 53 Division at 416-808-5300 or ...

Gas Plant Hearings Resume

Posted By: Katie Franzios · 2/28/2013 5:31:00 AM

Hearings into the cancelled Mississauga and Oakville gas plants will resume at Queen's Park on Thursday.

The province's justice committee will look into the release of over 56,000 pages of documents surrounding the 2010 and 2011 decisions. Opposition parties maintain they still believe more files need to be released, including emails from former Premier Dalton McGuinty's office.

While Premier Kathleen Wynne underlined she was part of the McGuinty government which made the call in Oakville and Mississauga, she regrets they didn't make a better decision on the locations from the start.

Wynne repeated she wants the Liberal government to be transparent about the cancellation process and wants to provide all the information needed.

The premier has said she would testify at the hearings if asked.

Wynne was Liberal campaign co-chair during the 2011 provincial election, when the promise to shut down construction of the Mississauga plant was made. She maintains ...

First psychiatrist to take the stand in Kachkar murder trial

Posted By: Russ Courtney · 2/28/2013 5:00:00 AM

The jury at the Richard Kachkar murder trial is expected to hear Thursday from the first of three psychiatrists that, according to the defence, will back up the arguments of Kachkar's legal team that the 46 year-old should be found not criminally responsible for the death of Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell.

Kachkar's lawyer Bob Richardson has told court that the three professionals all independently came to the same conclusion, that he was suffering from a mental disorder and should be found not criminally responsible in the officer's death.

Dr. Philip Klassen, Vice-President of Medical Affairs at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences is expected to be called to take the witnesses stand on Thursday and his testimony could last into Friday.

Richardson's defence is under Section 16 of the Criminal Code which states "no person is criminally responsible for an act committed or an omission made while suffering ...

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