TTC commissioner hopes for quick subway approval

TTC commissioner Peter Li Preti, Toronto city councillor for the area that includes much of the Spadina subway extension to the border of Toronto and York Region, is a big proponent of the plan, reported transit columnist Ed Drass in Metro Oct. 13. He has been closely involved with consultations between interested parties, including the TTC and York University. He says many people attended two recent open houses that showed the designs. Li Preti says, “People are very skeptical” about more plans to build a subway, citing previous studies over the past two decades. “Everybody is waiting for this announcement,” which will “give confidence back to an area where people had lost hope in government,” Li Preti suggests.

One of the key backers of the subway extension is Vaughan-King-Aurora MPP Greg Sorbara, who stepped down Tuesday as provincial finance minister due to an RCMP investigation. Will this delay approval of the line? Li Preti says “I don’t think the subway is the byproduct or the child of any particular politician,” adding: “Surely it would be a setback, because obviously the minister was a strong advocate for this line.”

What are the next steps, once public input is considered and the environmental assessment study is completed? Says the councillor, “I would have to expect the [Ontario] minister of environment to give approval immediately to this line” followed by garnering government support to fund the construction.

Sax player Mike Murley ready to Duologue

York music grad and instructor Mike Murley is one of the very best saxophonists anywhere, reported the Toronto Star’s jazz critic Geoff Chapman Oct. 13. Murley has formed and played in a number of bands here, but his duo with guitarist David Occhipinti, formed in 1999, is getting as much attention nowadays as his fairly newly-minted septet and the foursome he co-leads with pianist David Braid. He and Occhipinti launch Duologue Vol. 2 on Monday at the Montreal Bistro, a terrific follow-up to 2002’s much-praised Duologue debut on Cornerstone, a label Murley co-founded. Murley has left the brilliant Time Warp. The hot-selling groove quartet Metalwood is in hiatus. And his Shuffle Demon days are past. But he’s one busy jazzer.

“If you want to play you’ll find a way to do it,” said Murley (BFA ’86), who teaches at York University, plays with the famed McConnell Tentet, Braid’s sextet, drummer Barry Elmes’ Quintet and Occhipinti’s quartet and recently was part of a Bravo! television series of solo jazz performances. His most recent disc as leader, Extra Time, was named best album at this year’s National Jazz Awards. “I’m playing the music I love to play, always trying to reinvent myself and keep my music fresh.”

Award-winning filmmaker will be at Wilno festival

This year’s Wilno Film and Video Festival will feature films by guest filmmaker Antonin Lhotsky, a film production professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts who has recently completed a short film titled Last Year at Killaloe, reported The Daily Observer in Pembroke Oct. 13. Lhotsky, who is a summer resident of the Wilno area, is a graduate of the Czechoslovakia Film Academy. He has more than 100 documentary and theatrical film credits as a cinematographer, producer and director. He has won a special Genie award for cinematography and his most recent three films have received six awards for cinematography.

Finding the funds to finance a business

If you don’t need a big loan, and the bank has turned you down, it may be possible to get micro-credit, which means very small loans, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 13 in a story on how to get a business off the ground. Part-time economics student  Eskinder Agonafer started his paralegal business, Ontario Legal Services, with a $4,000 loan from Access Riverdale Community Loan Fund. The latter is a non-profit “lender of last resort” that provides loans of up to $5,000 to those turned down by traditional lenders. Agonafer came to Canada as a refugee from Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. After completing a paralegal course and receiving entrepreneur training from the federally funded, self-employment benefit (SEB) program, he couldn’t get a bank loan, despite his experience running an advertising company in Ethiopia. “As (newcomers) coming to this country with no credit history,” he said, “we have nothing to show to the bank.”

On air

  • Scott Fielder, who teaches chemistry in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, discussed the facts on fuel and petroleum, on TVO’s “More to Life” Oct. 12.
  • Paul Baxter, who teaches courses on the criminal justice system in York’s Division of Social Science, discussed the provincial government’s throne speech and the resignation of Greg Sorbara, on “A Channel News at 6” on CKVR-TV in Barrie Oct. 12.