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Newsstand: July 15, 2014

An elderly couple was robbed while trying to sell kittens from their Whitby home over the weekend. That is probably a new low for humanity. In the news: Olivia Chow wants to ban handguns, a Scarborough company puts wood from pest-tainted trees to good use, a portion of the Gardiner construction is ahead of schedule, and another factual inaccuracy brought to you by Rob Ford.

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As part of a crime policy platform unveiled yesterday, mayoral candidate Olivia Chow has promised to put pressure on the federal government to ban handguns. Her platform also called for better coordination between police and existing community partners, including youth outreach workers and teachers, in an effort to prevent crime. Both Mayor Rob Ford and mayoral candidate John Tory immediately came down on Chow’s handgun pledge, pointing out that the municipal government has extremely limited influence over gun legislation—which is handled by the feds—and they are not wrong. A push to ban the controversial weapons was led previously by former mayor David Miller, and it got absolutely nowhere. But then again, a lot of platform promises go absolutely nowhere, so let’s just add this one to the “disregard” pile of election pledges.

Urban Tree Salvage, a Scarborough-based company, has become the first organization in the city to be certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to process and ship previously pest-infested hardwood lumber, thanks to its methods of treating of tainted wood to ready it for consumer use. The company, co-owned by Sean Gorham and Melissa Neist, prepares infected wood by placing it in a large kiln, where it is heat-treated in order to kill insects. This is good news for the roughly 860,000 trees in Toronto that are expected to be felled by the pesky emerald ash borer over the next decade. With Urban Tree Salvage reclaiming about 10,000 trees from the City each year, some trees otherwise considered tainted will now have the chance to live on as furniture or lumber.

Brace yourselves for some truly unbelievable news. According to a rep for the City of Toronto, median repairs to the Gardiner Expressway near Jameson Avenue are expected to wrap up in the middle of August—approximately two months ahead of the scheduled completion date. While no revised completion date was offered, there is hope that the construction will be completed on or around the kickoff of the Exhibition, which would certainly be a bonus.

Finally, brace yourself from some entirely less unbelievable news. The Toronto Star has pointed out a factual inaccuracy presented by Mayor Rob Ford during a recent interview with Fairchild TV. While complaining that the gravy train had really gotten back on track while he was away at rehab this year, Ford claimed that the contentious spending of $900,000 on rocks and umbrella fixtures at Sugar Beach occurred while he was in treatment for his substance abuse problems. Not so, of course, since the waterfront park in question opened in 2010. If this is the worst Ford-related inaccuracy of the day, a major corner has been turned.

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