Professor’s study kills interest in coporate campaign donations

All but one mayoralty candidate in the northern part of York Region are staying clear of accepting campaign donations from developers, reported the Newmarket/Aurora Era-Banner Oct. 19. The change in past practice comes as a result of a study by Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, who wrote a well-publicized paper analyzing the amount of business money in campaign war chests in the Greater Toronto Area during the last municipal election.

While no one from Newmarket, Aurora, East Gwillimbury and King Township made MacDermid’s Top-20 list, it was a very different situation in the south. In 2003, seven Vaughan candidates, including incumbent Mayor Michael Di Biase and opponent Linda Jackson, were on the Top-20 list to receive the most corporate funding across the GTA. They are both accepting donations from the development industry this time, although opponents Paul Stewart and Savino Quatela are not. Two Markham politicians made MacDermid’s Top-20 list in 2003: retiring Mayor Don Cousens and Frank Scarpitti, who is campaigning to replace him.

Miller prefers buses and streetcars but still backs subway to York

Mayor David Miller yesterday promised to criss-cross Toronto with exclusive bus and streetcar lanes if he is re-elected, saying the city is expanding too fast to make commuters wait for new subway lines, reported the National Post Oct. 25. “Subways are great,” Miller told reporters at the unveiling of his public transit platform. “They’re fast and they’re efficient. But we all know that new subway stations are only one piece of the puzzle. The fact is that subways are expensive.” Despite his emphasis on surface routes, Miller said he still supported extending the subway to York University.

  • CBC Toronto also reported on Miller’s campaign statement Oct. 24. “We can’t wait for subways to be constructed,” Miller said, adding that the city still plans to proceed with the planned York University subway extension. While Miller said there is no shortage of big ideas for a great transit system, he suggested Toronto cannot build one without help from the federal government. Ottawa has yet to confirm whether it will chip in $670 million toward the $2-billion proposal to extend the University-Spadina line north to York University.

Who is Rudy Quazar?

Once upon a new millennium, there were five young Port Colborne friends who wanted to make music, wrote the Welland Tribune Oct. 25. They formed their own rock band and dubbed themselves Rudy Quazar. So who exactly is Rudy Quazar? Technically, it’s a band with vocalist Jives (James) Standish, lead guitarists Rod Standish and Eric McKay (BFA ‘04), bass guitarist Ryan Mattie and drummer Phil Bosley (BFA ‘02). But the real ‘Rudy’ isn’t really real at all…he’s a fictional character pulled from a short story written by a band member’s sister, and he became the band’s running joke throughout Port Colborne High School days. Phil and Eric both received their music degree from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Eric is currently taking courses at Niagara College to teach English as a second language and has recently returned from Korea and Thailand.

Author’s latest book is to be feared

Jeff Szpirglas (BFA ‘99) might be an adult, but the North York resident’s ability to get into the mind of youngsters helped pave the way for literary success, wrote the North York Mirror Oct. 24. Fear This Book, Your Guide to Fright, Horror, and Things That Go Bump in the Night is Szpirglas’ latest book, which explores all things fearful and works to uncover the truth behind common frightening myths. The 64-page book, geared toward children ages eight to 12, tackles the question of what is feared, and why, through examining common fears such as the dark and phobias.

Szpirglas, who wrote Gross Universe: Your Guide to All Disgusting Things Under the Sun and They Did WHAT?!: Your Guide to Weird and Wacky Things People Do, said he began writing for children while in high school. After finishing his first two books, the Bathurst Street and Glencairn Avenue area resident approached his publisher about writing a kids guide to science fiction. “They said how about fear instead?” Szpirglas said. “I said sure.” Szpirglas, who teaches at a Thornhill elementary school, originally wanted to be a horror movie maker, and even studied film & video at York’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

York Lions notch season’s first hockey wins

The York University Lions men’s hockey team picked up their first two Ontario University Athletics regular season victories last week, reported the North York Mirror Oct. 24. York defeated the Ryerson Rams 3-1 Wednesday evening, then beat the University of Toronto Blues 2-0 the next night. Both games took place at the Canlan Ice Sports Arena at York (formerly Beatrice Ice Gardens). The Lions now have five points in four games. The Ryerson game marked the return to the rink of Graham Wise, who took over as coach of the Rams during the off-season after spending 19 years at York. New Lions coach Bill Maguire said seeing his predecessor behind the other bench was an emotional experience at first. “Graham’s a friend. I played for him. I was an assistant coach for him. We’re pretty close. But once the game got under way, they were just another team that we were playing.”

York student gets US hockey scholarship

The last name needs no introduction to Stouffville hockey fans, wrote the Stouffville Sun Oct. 19. York student Will Acton is indeed the eldest son of Keith Acton, the Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach who played 14 NHL seasons after a starry minor hockey career in Stouffville in the 1970s. But the 19-year-old is six foot, two inches, six inches taller than his dad, more fair and tall like his mom, Susan. Where Keith was known as a tenacious checker and pest, Will is more finesse and a goal scorer. While Acton is looking forward to playing in the World Junior A Challenge, he can’t t wait for next fall to arrive. That’s when he will enrol at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie, Mich. on an athletic scholarship. Currently taking courses at York University to jumpstart his education at Lake Superior State next fall, Will intends to major in finance and economics.