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Newsstand: January 29, 2014

If life were a '90s soap opera, this would be the point I would like my character to get stuck on a tiny island paradise. When winter passes, I would be rescued and return to life…as my own evil twin. In the news: As Rob Ford visits one community housing apartment to check on the status of unit repairs another building languishes with no heat or hot water, more water main breaks than usual this winter, last year there were 700 known suicide attempts by TDSB students, and a high school class ring lost in 1979 seeks its rightful owner.

matt newsstand raccoon

As we all eagerly wait for Mayor Rob Ford to enlighten us with his manifesto for $50-million in municipal savings, yesterday the Mayor was knocking on doors at a North York community housing complex to meet with residents and find out what repairs need to be made to their units. Mayor Ford arguably would have had a better photo op had he visited a different community housing building in East York where heat and hot water have repeatedly stopped working through this recent cold snap. The complex—located around Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive—is home to a large community of seniors who have been without heat for periods anywhere from a few hours to overnight, since December. The Toronto Community Housing Corporation says that problems to one of two boilers located within the building will be fixed today, and this should resolve the issues which have been plaguing the location.

Looks like everything is breaking this winter. City crews have been out dealing with a spike in water main breaks, with 341 since January 1—100 more than had occurred this time last year. Predictably, the harsher-than-usual winter conditions this year have been the largest contributing factor to this upswing in breaks. 37 happened yesterday morning alone as temperatures swan-dove into the -20C range.

Following a press conference yesterday to announce a new mental health strategy for young people, the Toronto District School Board’s Director of Education Donna Quan revealed to media that there were 700 known suicide attempts by TDSB students last year. That number, Quan says, could be much larger since not all parents report the incidents to officials. Of the 700 known suicide attempts last year, most involved students at the high schools level. It is an alarming statistic that Quan says should be of concern for educators. The TDSB is currently developing a suicide prevention plan to address the issue by offer better support to students suffering from depression.

Do you have the initials H.J.D.? Did you go to school at Overlea Secondary School? Did you lose your class ring in 1979? If you answered no to any or all of the preceding questions, you can move on with the rest of your day. If not, there’s a man who has your high school class ring, and would like to get it back to you. According to John Slade, he found the ring when he was just nine years old in 1979 and has held onto it since then, having made a few fruitless attempts to reunite it with its owner over the years. Now with the help of the Toronto Star Slade may be close to solving the long-standing mystery. The school’s alumni association is now spreading the word to its roughly 1,500-member database to see if they can track down the ring’s original owner, and they seem to have confidence it will happen sooner or later.

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