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Newsstand: January 4, 2013

Still complaining about the cold and the snow? Yeah, we are too. In the news: a TTC driver with a bad attitude, a Diamond Jubilee medal goes to a shoplifter-lifter, a remarkable new high school sports field, outsourcing saves only a fraction of what is promised, and influenza.

A TTC driver apparently said some rather not-nice things to a mother and her baby as they boarded the 199 Finch Express yesterday morning around 6:30 a.m. According to Jodi Christie, the mother in this story, as she got on the bus with her son in a stroller, the driver told her to get a smaller stroller that she could lift onto the bus herself. Yeah, that’s kind of rude, but apparently he later followed up with this gem: “Where’s his dad? He should be helping you with this, if he even has a father.”

It’s a Diamond Jubilee for vigilante justice citizen’s arrests! David Chen, who chased and bound with twine a man that had shoplifted from Lucky Moose Food Mart on Dundas Street West, where Chen works will be receiving a Diamond Jubilee medal from Prime Minister Stephen Harper this month.

A school near Coxwell and Danforth avenues just saw the opening of a world class recreation facility on its property. Monarch Park Collegiate is now home to a new FIFA-grade, NFL-size, artificial turf field, and the only indoor track in southern Ontario with a 100-metre straightaway. What makes this especially great is that during the cooler months of the year, it is all covered by a giant dome. Better still, the facilities, which the school has access to on weekdays before 6:00 p.m., cost the TDSB nothing—the trade-off is that the profits from after-hours and weekend rentals go to Razor Management, the company that built and now runs the facility. Let’s hope that all goes well and the TDSB’s private-public partnership bubble doesn’t burst.

Speaking of stirring the private and public pots together, the savings that were promised by outsourcing cleaning jobs at 25 police stations last year were actually less than a third as good as expected. Only $800,000 was saved—a far cry from the $2.5 million that council expected. According to councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre-Rosedale), there wasn’t even any savings on the administration of cleaning services; most of the savings have just come from paying people less (barely over minimum wage for some). As McConnell puts it: “In the long run, the only thing we’ve done is make workers more vulnerable.”

Remember to wash your hands often (and maybe the hands of others, too), because flu season is here and it seems to be a big one.

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