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Weekend Newsstand: January 18, 2014

It is the weekend. This means one thing. A Netflix marathon of the BBC version of House of Cards, and crocheting on the sofa. Yep, I’m basically your 87-year-old grandmother. In the news, dearies: It might be a long while before the city hears any news from the province about ice storm cleanup funds, a felled Leslieville maple tree with historical significance finds life through an art and design project, big changes to parking ticket fees are coming next week, and the Ikea monkey’s former owner must pay $83,000 in legal fees.

matt newsstand gull

It could be quite a while before the Greater Toronto Area learns whether or not ice storm relief funds are coming. At a meeting held yesterday, Toronto-area mayors came together to ask the province for swift financial assistance to help recover from damage caused by the December ice storm. With costs associated with cleanup hovering around the $106 million mark in Toronto—and $250 million within the larger GTA—the mayors hope that ice storm costs will be shared equally between all levels of government, from municipal to federal. They also passed a resolution requesting the province respond to their storm relief requests by March 1. However, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Linda Jeffrey, who attended the meeting on behalf of the provincial government, said that it could take weeks or even months to know how much money will be available from the disaster relief programs. Perhaps tellingly, Jeffrey confirmed that assessment teams were already working to survey damages but cautioned that not all municipalities who applied for funds are guaranteed to qualify for the program. Mayors seemed divided as to whether or not the meeting should have been attended by Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was in Niagara Falls meeting with federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said she was happy to meet with Jeffrey at this point, while Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said that he preferred to go straight to the top, implying that Wynne should have been in attendance.

As the cleanup of trees damaged by the ice storm continues, a Toronto urban forest advocacy not-for-profit called LEAF appears to be challenging the idea that all that wood should be considered garbage. A felled Leslieville silver maple tree that once inspired Alexander Muir to write the nationalist ballad “The Maple Leaf Forever” in 1867 has found new life through the organization, who will unveil lighting and art fixtures made by local artists from its reclaimed branches next week at Agora Café on Dundas Street West. Other projects confirmed to use salvaged wood from the tree include fabricating five ceremonial gavels for city and community council use, book stands for the Toronto Reference Library, and a set of nested bowls for the Royal Ontario Museum.

If you have a glove box full of unpaid parking tickets, take heed! You’ll want to pay those off as soon as humanly possible. Why? Because as of next Thursday, new rules will allow Toronto’s parking enforcement officers to tow any vehicle that has three undisputed and unpaid tickets on record at the time that a fourth ticket is being issued. It is also worth noting that the fine for parking during rush hour parking bans has ballooned from $60 to $150, so you might not want to do that anymore either.

Even if your car does end up being towed because you don’t like to pay your tickets, you can at least be thankful you’re not the Ikea monkey’s former owner, who was recently ordered by a judge to pay over $83,000 in legal fees. Ouch! Yasmin Nakhuda, who owned Darwin the monkey before he was transferred to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, was ordered to pony up the legal fees incurred by the animal sanctuary that won a custody battle for the Japanese macaque in September of last year. While Nakhuda is currently pursuing an appeal of that decision, representatives for Story Book Farm say Darwin is doing well and continues to thrive within the environment.

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