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Weekend Newsstand: April 26, 2014

Twenty-eight digital paintings that Andy Warhol made using a Commodore computer in 1985 have been recovered from floppy discs. Sadly, they can't get his copy of Mindshadow up and running. In the news: Olivia Chow's promise of 1 million trees for zero dollars, getting to know the interim boss at the TCHC, the police's return of stolen property lifted by a Spiderman-like thief, and yet another power outage in the city.

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In an email sent out by Olivia Chow’s campaign on Friday, the mayoral candidate promised that, if elected, she will plant 1 million trees in the city at no cost to taxpayers. For the jaded and cynical who subscribe to the “you can’t get something for nothing” life philosophy, rest assured that Chow does have a plan. Chow’s campaign claims that the city loses out on $3.5 million annually from businesses who do not pay the municipal levy to treat harmful chemical outputs, which she intends to crack down on and recoup in order to finance her efforts to replant some of Toronto’s diminishing tree canopy over five years. Earlier this week, fellow mayoral candidate John Tory proposed his own tree-planting strategy in which he would aim to plant 3.8 million trees over 10 years by doubling the city’s budget.

Gene Jones is longer the CEO of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. So, what is there to know about his interim replacement, Greg Spearn? Spearn serves as vice-president and chief development for the TCHC, and will continue in these roles in addition to his new capacity as interim CEO for the organization. He joined the TCHC in 2012 to spearhead the revitalization of City-owned affordable housing complexes, leading projects such as the Alexandra Park redevelopment. Spearn spent most of the early ’90s working on Toronto waterfront redevelopment, and prior to that was the president of the York University Development Corporation. City Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina)—who has worked with Spearn on the Alexandra Park project—says he brings a good blend of private-sector experience and public-sector know-how to the temporary post. “He’s no stranger to government, but he’s also no stranger to development and land use management, with his background in commercial real estate,” says Vaughan of his confidence in Spearn’s qualifications.

A cat burglar has been nabbed by police in one of the largest break-and-enter investigations in the history of York Region. The special investigation was dubbed Project Spiderman, and sounds more like the plot of a caper movie than reality. Since 1989, it is alleged that 43-year-old Shane Gagnon carried out 31 break-and-enters of high-end homes within the GTA by scaling the sides of houses and entering through skylights. Using high-tech devices such as flexible spy cams and precious-metal testers, Gagnon is said to have made off with close to $15 million in stolen property. Thousands of rare and valuable items including coins, medals, and jewelry were recovered by police, who have begun the task of trying to reunite stolen items with their rightful owners. In one case, First World War medals were returned to the family of Canadian Private Robert McNay after they were stolen almost 25 years ago.

A little over a week after large swaths of city’s west end experienced the first major power outage since this winter’s ice storm, approximately 6,000 Etobicoke residents were without power on Friday night. Toronto Hydro says the outage was cause by a pole fire, and that power has been restored to the majority of homes.


  • Sonny Yeung

    Looks like Chow is trying to out do Tory who already out does Ford on tree planting!
    The new CEO is from Toronto; should have some knowledge of Cdn employment law.
    Seems the cat burglar would pick choice targets over the decades.
    Also Etobicoke & Mississauga could probably use a power plant near by…

    • rich1299

      The perfect site for a new gas plant would’ve been at the former Lakeview coal plant, the one with the “four sisters”. It still has high voltage transmission lines in place and was/is owned by Ontario Hydro.

      Apparently it was never considered because Mississauga wants to build condos there despite the site being heavily polluted with a sewage treatment plant on one side, industrial park on another, and a water treatment plant on the third. The lake is nice though and there are some parks worked into the water treatment plant and underneath a stretch of the high voltage lines’ ROW. But who is going to pay to clean up all that soil? Its a huge site much of which was covered in coal year round.

      They could easily build a gas plant there and have plenty of room for either more gas plants or to expand the industrial park there on site bringing more good paying jobs to the area. There’s no housing within 500m or more depending on what part of the site a gas plant was built on, that’s a distance at least 3-4 times further than the proposed gas plant near the Queensway and hospital.

      • nevilleross

        Why not build a new nuclear plant there instead? Why are we still using gas-powered plants?

        • TheSotSays

          Yeah nuclear is a great thing and there’s nothing like acute radiation poisoning to improve the fishing.

          Man, a 6 meter Perch with aplastic anemia. Yum yum yum!

          • nevilleross

            Learn some facts (other that old wive’s tales and scaremongering) about nuclear power before you comment again, please.

          • TheSotSays

            I wish I had more time to babysit you but the only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know. The list of civilian nuclear incidents is as long as a Fiona Cream goober report but here’s a start for the arrogantly uninformed:

            Chalk River
            Three Mile Island

            The basic thing to keep in mind for Ontario is that it has no government employees smart enough to be trusted with dangerous toys.

            Enjoy your aplastic anemia fish dinner. Yum yum yum!

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          As I recall there is a fault line running under Lake Ontario, and the west end of the lake has seen quite a few quakes (all under 3.0, admittedly). I’d prefer we didn’t build (more) nuclear plants in quake-prone areas adjacent to large fresh water sources. Put it out near Minto; no quakes recorded there.

        • dsmithhfx
    • TheSotSays

      I understand The Iron Chow spent the weekend with Gord Perks learning to arm wrestle.

      Chow thinks she’ll gain political points with the NDP cultists if she can get good enough to take down Joe “Munch” Mihevic (The Cement Mixer).

      • mixandserve

        Reading this comment made me think of all the rabid NDP haters out there and what the coming provincial election is going to mean for them. Not you Sot, of course, but others like you.

        It dawned on me how sharply it’ll sting for this lot when the NDP outright rules Ontario (if not leads a coalition with the Libs). God, the blogs are going to light UP. And, personally, I can’t wait to hear the machinegun blather from NDP-bashers the day they wake up in an NDP world.

        Again…not you, Sot. I know you’ll take it like a man and have intelligent, insightful, relevant comments to share to help keep Big Orange on the straight and narrow.

        Actually, in this way you’ll be doing both the NDP and the citizens of Ontario a great service, so keep up the great work, chum. ;)

        I think I’m now going to have a smile plastered on my face the entire day.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          “….I know you’ll take it like a man and have intelligent, insightful, relevant comments to share to help keep Big Orange on the straight and narrow.”

          Love the sarcasm.

          • Notcleverguy

            I too thought it was pretty fantastic.

            I actually chuckled out loud while reading it.

  • Bumbaclot

    Gene Jones is out. The mayor’s eloquent response:

    “You know what? Don, a year left — this is an election. What are we going to do now? Six months. In the summer — the summer! — when there’s, unfortunately, there’s a lot — you had the worst shootings in Danzig and all this — in the summer! This is only going to — hopefully it won’t, I’ll do everything in my power to control it — but this could get out of control this summer. And I don’t want it to get out of control. Who are we going to put in? Who are we going to put in now, going into an election?”

    Indeed, Gene Jones was the only thing standing between Toronto and riots, murder, mayhem, etc. God help us all now!

    • dsmithhfx

      Keep the crack dealers happy or else!

    • Notcleverguy

      This is just Ford fear mongering and it’s completely despicable.
      He doesn’t care at all about public safety, if he did, he wouldn’t brush off his crack use, an illegal industry that is responsible for countless deaths all over the world, including here in Toronto. He’d also be talking to the cops instead of silently protecting his gun running gang buddies, who may just be responsible for the guns used in the Danzig and Eaton’s Centre shootings.

      He also justifies his drunk driving, with the ridiculous notion that other people do it, so it;s OK if he does, again something that rips apart families and is considered a violent crime.

      Not only is Ford a really really bad politician, but he is a horrible and contemptible human being.