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Real City Matters

Join us Tuesday night for a discussion about municipal ethics in Toronto

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Newsstand: February 6, 2013

Kitten Day isn’t a thing, but if it were, we’d suggest that today be the day. In the news: turf-war puns abound at U of T, terrible cab drivers, donate some marrow, and casinos are bad for your health.

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Different arms of the University of Toronto community are conflicted over plans to lay a $9.5 million artificial turf field hockey pitch for the Pan Am Games on what is currently a plot of natural grass. A synthetic field is a requirement of the International Field Hockey Federation, but the construction of the one in question didn’t receive a full environmental assessment, because that wasn’t required. Don’t worry though, according the American Synthetic Turf Council, who represents the industry, lead levels are apparently “minimal” in artificial fields.

The Star has found a new poster boy for problems with the city’s taxi licensing system. Bernard Koranteng, who is actively working as a cabbie, has convictions for assaulting a passenger (on her way to pick up a puppy), dangerous driving (which included a police officer hanging off the side of his cab for 15 metres), and threatening death. The city uses an honour system to license taxi drivers, so it is up to a driver to inform the city about their own charges, but apparently that doesn’t always happen. A civilian tribunal ultimately decides whether or not a driver gets to keep their taxi license, but that can take a long time in some cases.

Have you done a good deed yet today? Yeah, it is pretty early still, isn’t it? Well, we have you covered. There is currently no registered bone marrow match for Sarah Watkin, a five-year-old girl with a rare form of leukemia who has been living at SickKids since October. Luckily, registering as a potential marrow donor is as simple as swabbing your cheek and mailing that in.

So, a casino might be bad for your health, and not just because of the alcohol, bad food, and high blood pressure often found in those places. Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, has released a report stating that the adverse effects of a casino probably outweigh the positive, which will in turn have an effect on the health of Torontonians. One thing he notes is that the overall unemployment rate could actually be unaffected by building a casino, which some are touting a way to generate a lot of jobs. This was the case in Niagara Falls. Do you want to be Niagara Falls?

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