Attendance is up at latest Rogers Cup

If you were to simply read and hear about the women’s tennis competition at the Rexall Centre this week, you might expect the site would be a virtual ghost town complete with tumbleweeds, unable to attract anyone save the most hardened fans of the sport, wrote Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox, Aug. 17. Multiple withdrawals of major stars like Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova injured the depth of the field going in. Still, thousands of customers again poured through the gates at the York University facility yesterday, either intent on getting something for their money spent on advance tickets or happy to watch whatever players were still alive and competing.

The tournament will pass the 100,000 attendance mark today and is slightly ahead of 2005 numbers, the last time the females were in town. So the perception of this event remains somewhat in contrast with the reality. People are coming and are interested, leaving only the question of whether their experience will make them want to come again.

Harbour cleanup could net city $914m in benefits

Officials working to bring back Hamilton Harbour say the economic, social and environmental benefits of cleaning up Randle Reef are enormous, wrote the Hamilton Spectator Aug. 17. And a model used by York University‘s Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability backs them up. It says local accumulated benefits are worth about $126 million for Randle Reef and $914 million for the entire harbour remediation.

The York study says the top beneficiaries of the Randle Reef project, not counting the cost, will be local property owners with $96 million, local businesses ($38 million) and municipal government ($29 million).

Ontario hospital is being sued by Bayer

A major pharmaceutical company has taken the unusual step of suing a hospital in Thunder Bay, Ont. for patent infringement, alleging the institution effectively duplicated a patented Bayer Inc. antibiotic by diluting a more concentrated, generic version of the same drug, reported the National Post Aug. 17.

The case is an extraordinary example of the lengths to which pharmaceutical companies will go to defend their intellectual property – and is likely to succeed in court, said medical and patent-law experts. However, the lawsuit may well backfire on the public relations front, they predicted.

"I think this is going to look, from Bayer’s point of view, pretty petty," said Joel Lexchin, an emergency doctor and a professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health. "The hospital is probably doing this for a small number of patients, costing Bayer almost zilch in terms of lost sales. If this drives up hospital costs, Bayer, I don’t think, would look very good."

Restaurant employees cook up unique fundraising event

The throng of sweaty feet and bodies moving rhythmically across the floor of the sports lounge at Stony Plain’s Boston Pizza on Aug. 13 belonged to an eager crowd, ready to dance the night away – for the benefit of sick or injured children, wrote Alberta’s Stony Plain Reporter Aug. 17 in a story about a fundraising event for that city’s Stollery Children’s Hospital. The event was the brainchild of three Boston Pizza employees, including York student Meredith Anderson, 22.

"We wanted to do something to actively promote (dance) here, to uncover the wealth of undiscovered talent right in front of our eyes," said Anderson, a second-year fine arts student at York.

Harper needs to make tax cuts a pocketbook issue

Many Canadian voters, indeed, celebrate high tax rates, assuming, along with US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, that taxes are the price we pay for civilization, wrote The Globe and Mail Aug. 17 in a story about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s thinking on the subject. Neil Brooks, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, once expressed this sentiment quite succinctly: "I like paying taxes." Brooks said this in December, 2005, only a few weeks before Harper won enough support in the last federal election to form a minority Conservative government.

Brooks’s position on taxes was straightforward. Any politician who promises "to let Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money," (such as, for example, Harper) is a barbarian of sorts, an enemy of high-quality public schools, excellent medical care, public parks and libraries, safe streets and liveable cities. Such politicians, he said, were essentially telling Canadians "to forget [their] moral obligations, to heck with [their] noble aspirations."

MacDermid will speak at voting reform meeting

A referendum will be held on Election Day, Oct. 10, to decide whether Ontario should adopt the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system, wrote the Lindsay Post Aug. 17. A public meeting to address the issue will be held on Aug. 29 at 7pm at Victoria Manor at 220 Angeline St. S. in Lindsay. Bob MacDermid, a professor of political science in York’s Faculty of Arts who resides in the Haliburtons, will provide an international overview of proportional representation in general.

Local residents to take part in national health study

The second phase of a healthy survey by the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), which is being conducted by Statistics Canada and Health Canada, is a trip to the CHMS mobile clinic at the Keele Campus of York University, wrote Aug. 16. From early September to mid-October, qualified health professionals at the clinic will take direct physical measurements such as height, weight, blood pressure and pulmonary capacity.

On air

  • David Reid, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, and graduate student Saunia Ahmad spoke about a unique counselling program aimed at south Asian families on OMNI-TV, Aug. 16.