Newsstand: December 19, 2012


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Newsstand: December 19, 2012

We would like to dedicate this Newsstand to all the Wednesdays out there. Without you, our weeks would feel so humpless. In the news: elephants are almost gone, garbage pickups are going well, update to Linda mystery, auditor general’s Wheel-Trans suggestions, and Cho’s running again.

All their bags are packed, they’re ready to go, they’re standing here, outside your door. Toka, Thika, and Iringa are going south this spring—or, so it looks. Yesterday, the board of the Toronto Zoo held their first meeting since city council voted again to send the elephants to the PAWS sanctuary in California. The board might not be happy about it (they had hoped to send the never-forgetful animals to a sanctuary in Florida), but they are preparing for a spring departure for the pachyderms. We hope to see at least one mid-air high-five between a southbound elephant and a northbound Canada goose.

It looks as though GFL, the company contracted to pick up household waste west of Yonge Street, is doing just as well, and maybe better, than the public service they have replaced. The number of complaints about GFL has dropped significantly since their first week, and late pickups are down too. It is amazing what a little lime-green paint can do.

Some of the mystery surrounding a woman named Linda, who showed up at a shelter in Toronto in September without a recollection of her identity or past, has been solved with the help of the internet and DNA. Toronto police have now identified her as Linda Hegg, an American veteran from Newark, Delaware. Hegg was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the mid-1990s and now lives in an assisted living facility in Newark. The details of why she came to Canada are unknown, but it is believed that a traumatic event may have sparked her memory loss.

Wheel-Trans, Toronto’s accessible public transit service, is the subject of a recent City auditor general’s report aimed at cutting the public cost of the service. Of the 22 recommendations in the report, some of which are currently in use, one is that a doctor’s note should be required to qualify for the service. Right now, the TTC uses an external company to do assessments on a person’s mobility. According to TTC CEO Andy Byford, switching from that system to just a doctor’s note could actually have the inverse effect and increase the strain on the system.

Near-double-decade-long city councillor Raymond Cho (Ward 42, Scarborough-Rouge River) has announced that he will be running for a seat in the next provincial election (probably this upcoming spring) as a Progressive Conservative. Cho has previously run unsuccessful federal campaigns as a member of the NDP and as an “independent Liberal,” and at a provincial level he has tried unsuccessfully for a Liberal nomination. Wow, he must really dislike Toronto council.