Newsstand: July 20, 2013
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Newsstand: July 20, 2013

We're mellllltttinnnnggggg! In the news: the Scarborough subway is already in trouble, Ontario is working on new animal welfare laws, a former MuchMusic VJ sets her sights on Parliament Hill, police request the public's assistance in a Cabbagetown sex assault investigation, Ontario has rattlesnakes and they're feeling bitey, and newsflash: homes in Toronto are still expensive.

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The Scarborough subway was just approved, but it looks like it’s already in trouble: yesterday Ontario transport minister Glen Murray confirmed that the province is going to cough up $1.4 billion for the four-stop subway, but the vote at council on Wednesday to approve the subway instead of a cheaper seven-stop surface line was contingent on a provincial contribution of $1.8 billion. Councillor Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence), chair of the TTC, said that without that $400 million, the subway may not happen. “If that’s their position, then the people of Toronto need to know that we’re not going to get a subway and it will be an LRT,” Stintz said yesterday. Last night Murray took to Twitter to give his take, getting into a lengthy exchange with Stintz and tweeting “It has been said politicians are people who see the light at the end of the tunnel and order more tunnel. Only good when building subways.”

The province is overhauling its animal welfare laws, including regulations for standards of care for captive marine animals. Community safety minister Madeleine Meilleur told the Toronto Star that the “finishing touches” are being put on the laws, which will also address the licencing of zoos and aquariums and increasing the scope, funding, and transparency of the OSPCA. Meilleur said that review of the laws began last August, after the Star published an expose of conditions at Marineland, and that it’s hoped the new rules will be tabled by the end of September.

Police are seeking the public’s help to identify a suspect in a Cabbagetown home invasion and sexual assault investigation. Toronto cops have released a photo and video of a man wanted in connection with the incident, which is alleged to have occurred at around 6 a.m. on Saturday at a home near Parliament and Wellesley streets when a man broke into a woman’s home armed with a weapon, sexually assaulted her, and then stole money and property.

Remember MuchMusic VJ Jennifer Hollett? She’s been plenty busy since her days at the music channel, and now she is looking to add another entry to her varied resume: she’s seeking the nomination for the NDP in the federal riding of Toronto Centre. Though the riding is considered a Liberal stronghold—most recently held by Bob Rae before his resignation earlier this year, and before that occupied for years by Bill Graham—Hollett believes that the Liberals have benefited from running Liberal candidates that appealed to voters whose core values are NDP aligned. The NDP hasn’t yet announced the date of the nomination meeting to select its candidate for the riding, but it’s expected it will fall around Labour Day.

Heading to cottage country? Watch your ankles: snake bites are up this year, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources. Bites from the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake—the province’s only venomous snake—number six so far this year, when bites from the snake generally aren’t reported at all until August. The Massasauga lives in areas around Georgian Bay and the Bruce Peninsula, and while a bite is still statistically unlikely—“You’re much more likely to be hit by lightning than to be bitten by a Massasauga Rattlesnake,” ministry spokeswoman Jolanta Kowalski said—it’s worth listening for the snake’s rattle and heading right to a clinic if you are bitten. And don’t try to pick it up—seems obvious, but most of this year’s bites have come because people either accidentally stepped on the snake or attempted to handle it.

And probably surprising nobody, home prices are up again in the GTA—the average price for a single detached home in high-end areas of the city is up more than 12 per cent over last year. As a result, the city has a new “million dollar” neighbourhood, with the average home price in Don Mills, Parkwoods-Donalda, and Victoria Village rising to $1.1 million in the first six months of the year, according to the Remax Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc. report. The average price for all types of housing rose three per cent over the same period, according to the report and stands at $522,000. A relative bargain!