Newsstand: December 17, 2012




Newsstand: December 17, 2012

Here's hoping this is the start of a happier news week. In the news: EMS workers say their working conditions put Torontonians at risk; Mount Dennis residents are miffed about clear-cutting; the TDSB gets two special advisors; the last knuckleball pitcher might be headed to Toronto; and Darwin the Ikea monkey may still make another move.

Toronto paramedics charge that they aren’t able to do their jobs properly in the city, due to staff and vehicle shortages. Some EMS workers say that their work conditions are putting the public at risk, whereas Chief Paul Raftis blames the strife on union issues. Nevertheless, the departments own budget for 2013 shows that over the past decade, the number of paramedics has gone up by just one per cent while the number of emergency transports has gone up by 35 per cent.

Residents of Toronto’s Mount Dennis neighbourhood charge that Metrolinx is clear-cutting trees along the tracks of the 20-kilometre Georgetown South corridor, which is currently being expanded as part of the development of the Union-to-Pearson rail link. The line is being fully cleared, Metrolinx says, to prevent track delays and allow for expansion.

Education Minister Laurel Broten named two special advisors to advise the Toronto District School Board on reducing its capital deficit. Bill Hogarth and Ralph Benson, two retired educators from York Region, will begin working with the TDSB in January to address the board’s $50-million deficit and work to get the province to lift its spending freeze for major new building projects. A report by PwC consultants advised the closure of 10 to 15 schools in the board over the next two years, along with spending cuts and new income generation.

The busy off season for Toronto Blue Jays management continues: according to Fox Sports, the Jays have reached a deal with the National League’s Cy Young–winning pitcher R.A. Dickey, which would see two of the team’s top prospects sent to the New York Mets in exchange for the knuckleballer. Dickey is the last knuckleball pitcher in the major leagues. The deal now depends on getting Dickey to sign a multi-year contract with the Jays; talks can continue until 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Maybe Darwin shouldn’t get too settled into his new home at the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary. The monkey, famous after wandering around an Ikea parking lot in a coat, is now the subject of a fight between the province and the monkey’s owner. Yasmin Nakhuda filed a motion with the Ontario Superior Court to get Darwin returned to her. Nakhuda says that she was misled into signing the monkey over to Toronto Animal Services, and that—if the monkey is returned to them—she and her family are prepared to leave Toronto for a city where Darwin is an allowable pet.