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Newsstand: February 25, 2014

Admit it—you thought Egon Spengler was a total babe. Harold Ramis, you will be missed. Don’t cross the streams, and read some local news: Police Chief Bill Blair is under investigation, some good news for Gardiner repairs, even better news for parking ticket reforms, and a revolutionary cancer treatment developed at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is getting attention from around the world.

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There might be trouble in the air for Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) said a complaint filed on January 10, 2014, by Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) has been reviewed, and a fishing trip that Blair took with police services board member Andrew Pringle may have constituted misconduct, which will be investigated. While the chair of the police services board has indicated he knew about the trip that occurred last year, Councillor Ford says that he’s interested in discovering who paid for the trip, and what conversations about police business and Mayor Rob Ford may have taken place. No further details about the planned investigation have been released yet.

There is some good news for the aging western deck portion of the Gardiner Expressway. Well, it’s mostly good news. As it turns out, there is a new plan to carry out some major repairs on a section of the road near Strachan Avenue that would cut the projected 20-year completion timeline down to 12 years, and save about $3 billion from the projected $7.4-billion repair budget. Sounds great, right? Where do we sign up? Not so fast, hot shot! This new plan would cost more money up front. A lot more. About $90 million more. The proposal, which would involve using prefabricated deck sections instead of traditional concrete pouring, goes to the public works committee next week. Already, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) seems to be a fan of the proposal, saying, “When you look at $90 million extra costs to the city, versus $3 billion in savings, I think that’s a good investment.” Well, look at that—some logic still lives at City Hall.

Speaking of logic, a new report is urging a bylaw change that would make it possible for Toronto Police to give a 10-minute grace period before issuing any parking ticket for an expired meter. Currently, police are only able to forgive tickets within a five-minute grace period, even though City policy allows the aforementioned 10-minute reprieve. While universally lengthening the grace period to 10 minutes would result in an estimated drop in parking ticket revenue of $1.8 million, the report calls the current discrepancy within the ticketing system illogical, and just plain bad customer service. This is almost too much common sense to take so early in the morning.

A revolutionary cancer treatment that gives mesothelioma victims a much better prognosis has been developed by two doctors at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. John Cho, a radiation oncologist, and Dr. Marc de Perrot, a thoracic surgeon, have more than doubled survival times in patients by using a technique that differs from the traditional course of treatment by delivering radiation before surgery instead of after it. Mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive forms of lung cancer, largely associated with asbestos exposure. Over the past five years of the study, three-year survival rates for patients using Cho and de Perrot’s method skyrocketed from 32 per cent to 72 per cent. The results are so promising that doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota will soon begin testing the treatment method.

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