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Newsstand: June 26, 2014

The good news? It is almost the long weekend. The other good news? France has advanced to the knockout stage in the World Cup. Allez, les bleus! In the news: Flooding on the DVP, the challenges of an aging population living with HIV, and Giorgio Mammoliti attacks clothing swaps.

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Good Morning, Toronto, and welcome to the unofficial kickoff of flooding season. Environment Canada issued a heavy rainfall warning yesterday, projecting amounts of 30-40 millimetres across city. Some areas, including Dufferin Street and Finch Avenue, eventually had to contend with upwards of 50 millimetres of rain falling. Many commuters found themselves delayed by localized floods across GTA as high waters ended up closing both directions of the Don Valley Parkway between the Gardiner Expressway and Bloor Street, while the torrential weather also impacted public transit riders who were advised that Lawrence Station was closed due to—you guessed it—flooding. The DVP and Lawrence Station have since reopened, but there will be no service at the Old Cummer and Oriole GO stations along the Richmond Hill line this morning as flood damages are repaired.

For the 30,000 people in Ontario living with HIV, treatment with antiretroviral drugs can lead to a substantially longer lifespan. However, new research from St. Michael’s Hospital calls into question whether enough is being done to provide an adequate quality of life for aging HIV-positive Canadians who face a complex set of medical and social needs. The research paper—which reviewed more than 200 international studies on the health of older people living with HIV—found that treatment of the virus can be complicated because doctors are often unprepared to see health problems related to advanced aging manifest early. As Sean Rourke of St. Michael’s Neurobehavioural Research Unit explains, problems such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive brain injury, and osteoporosis are often seen in HIV patients up to 20 years before they would usually be diagnosed in the general population. This creates a significant support gap for an aging population of people living with HIV, since pension schemes and health care facilities are not currently designed to help address issues of advanced age in younger patients. The study calls for governments and policy-makers to do more to help people living with the virus improve not only their health but also their social outlook, as they are more likely to experience problems related to mental health, loss of social support systems, and employment difficulties.

It appears that City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) has backed off from attacking Parkdale long enough to launch a tirade against City Hall staffers who planned a charity clothing swap. Why? Well, naturally because the social gathering that took place in a committee room at the end of the day last Thursday was a waste of taxpayers’ money. The invitation to the swap, which planned to donate any unclaimed items to the New Circles Clothing Bank, gave the suggestion that attendees consider bringing snacks and light refreshments—including wine if they so liked. Mammoliti, presiding commissioner of the Fun Police, was having none of that. Said Mammoliti, “Drinking wine in city hall in a committee room is contrary to what the committee room is supposed to be used for. What it really amounts to is the fact that they’re sweeping up the costs of using their room at city hall for political staff to enjoy a glass of wine, maybe two, maybe three, maybe 10, and swap clothes, all on city resources and the taxpayer’s dime.” He also questioned whether the charity had been approved by council before staffers endorsed making donations through the event. Councillor John Parker (Ward 26, Don Valley West) dismissed the criticism like a boss, saying, “I really think that if this is the most controversial thing going on at city hall these days, then we’ve made a lot of good progress.”


CORRECTION: June 26, 2014, 9:30 AM This post originally stated that there are 300,000 people in Ontario living with HIV, when in fact the source article says their number is 30,000. We regret the error.

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