DAVE AGAR

March 12th Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 3/12/2014 7:06:00 AM

Storm

The leading edge of a later winter snowstorm is on a door step.

The temperature is right on the cusp so depending on where you are in the Greater Toronto Area you could be seeing rain or wet snow or a mix of both but as the temperature falls, it'll switch over completely to snow.

The expectation for Toronto proper...10 centimetres. Lesser amounts as you head north.

There will be blowing snow in strong gusty winds so visibility could be a problem.

There are no weather warnings for the Greater Toronto Area yet...but there are in Hamilton and Niagara...out toward Waterloo and in eastern Ontario from Kingston to Cornwall.

Niagara and Hamilton are expecting near blizzard conditions.

Toronto Hydro

Toronto Hydro has the green light to start charging homeowners an average of a dollar-a-month more starting in May.

However, the utility is again knocking on the door of the Ontario Energy Board saying it desperately needs to upgrade its equipment and will need annual increases for many years.

The last time Toronto Hydro tried this, the board said no which has setback the replacement of aging equipment for years. Some would argue that old equipment was part of the reason it took so long to gets things back to normal after the ice-storm in December.

Hydro is saying this: give us an extra 2 dollars and 35 cents a month each year from 2015 through 2019 and we can aggressively replace the equipment.

If not we'll have to charge an extra dollar-24-a-month to replace non-critical equipment as it fails...but understand if we take that route 13 percent of our customers will go through no fewer than 7 power blackouts every year.

If you pay the higher amount, only 6 percent of customers would have 7 or more outages a year.

If I may be so bold. How about we aim for no power outages. At least make that the objective.

By the way Hydro asking for your views on all of this...not necessarily because it wants to but because the Energy Board said if you want any shot at all at a hike, you must consult your customers. Now there's a novel idea.

GM

Sources say General Motors is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department regarding allegations it misled federal regulators and failed to comply with laws requiring timely disclosure of defective vehicles.

This is that case I was telling you about a couple of weeks ago...faulty ignition switches in Chevy Cobalt, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Sky, Pontiac G5.

Something as simple as the weight of the key fob could cause the ignition to slip out of the "on" position. The engine would shut down, the electrical system fail.

This fault has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths...mostly front-seat victims killed because the air bags didn't deploy when the electrical went out.

Also still to be sorted out is why federal traffic safety investigators didn't launch a probe even though it had more than 2-hundred-60 complaints over the last 11 years about this.

Just so we're clear, if there was a cover up at GM, people should go to prison and the company should be fined a fortune but allegations are one thing. Proof quite another.

Chow

It won't be official until she actually submits the documents to city hall but if there were any doubt, Olivia Chow is in the race to push Rob Ford off his precarious perch as Mayor of Toronto.

Her soon-to-be communications director Jamie Heath confirmed to NewsTalk 1010 late last night that Chow will resign as the MP for Trinity-Spadina today and file her papers to run for mayor tomorrow.

Once she is in, there's not likely to be any more big name candidates, although councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong may still be contemplating and we know councillor Shelley Carroll had been mulling it over.

So far there are 36 names on the list. At this point this seems to be a battle between Ford, John Tory and soon, Chow.

Crimea

Some crafty political footwork is being tried in Crimea.

Residents of that Ukrainian semi-autonomous state are scheduled to vote in a referendum this weekend about whether they want to join Russia. There's no doubt that would pass but the Crimean Parliament has decided that if the referendum gets approved, Crimea would declare itself independent.

That would give Russia the option of saying there is no need for Crimea to become part of Russia but the newly independent state would remain firmly within Moscow's sphere of influence.

Ukraine has already told the Crimean Parliament that if this referendum is even held, the Crimean Parliament would be dissolved by Kiev.

Migraine

If you suffer from migraines, and many do, a new option for those who cannot tolerate the medications for migraines has been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It's already available in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere. Cefaly sells for about 2-hundred-50 dollars.

It's a battery-powered plastic headband that looks much like the head-band worn by Wonder Woman.

It puts out a low electrical current to stimulate the nerves associated with migraine pain...to be worn no more than 20-minutes a day by adults.

The Cefaly headband does not completely eliminate migraines, nor reduce the intensity of the pain but patients do experience fewer migraines per month.

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