Shane Fair: a life cut short

After reserve soldier Shane Fair died, his mom looked into the 19-year-old’s computer and saw that he kept a list of 60 books he wanted to read in his lifetime, wrote Sun Media newspapers June 5 in a story about the York student’s funeral held on June 4. “The library was forever leaving messages about books he had on hold,” Lisa Malo said.

The books on Fair’s reading list included the John Steinbeck classic East of Eden, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. About 20 of the works had ticks beside them – her son was an avid reader, Malo said – but sadly, he wouldn’t get to finish the rest of them.

Fair, a York University student, was found dead May 30 by Toronto police marine unit officers who pulled his body from Lake Ontario near Ontario Place. Two weeks earlier, on the night of May 15, Fair vanished after a year-end formal at the Atlantis Pavilions. Police found no signs of foul play.

At Fair’s funeral yesterday, hundreds of mourners, including a contingent of reservists and regular Canadian Forces soldiers, packed the Church of St. John The Baptist, Norway, on Woodbine Avenue.

Fair was a reserve soldier with the 32 Combat Engineer Regiment, based at Downsview, and was soon to take soldier-qualification training in Meaford, said Capt. Wayne Johnston. He was hoping to be stationed in Edmonton by early winter and also wanted to serve in Afghanistan. “He wanted to go into the regular army and without a doubt he would’ve had a very positive impact on the Canadian Forces, I know that for a fact,” Johnston said.

  • Details of Fair’s funeral was also reported on CBC TV, CTV News and CP24-TV.

Bringing up baby badly

In a classic case of “do as we say and not as we do,” modern parents are lining up to embrace the label for themselves, wrote the Toronto Star June 5 in a story about a growing number of disaffected moms and dads taking on the mantle of badness.

“If you’re not a bad mom now, then you’re a bad mom,” quips York Professor Andrea O’Reilly, director of the Association for Research on Mothering at York. “It’s almost as if we’ve upped the ante to who’s the baddest.”

O’Reilly, who has been studying motherhood for decades, fears the “bad parent” posturing may be just another “mask” that parents will use to hide behind and judge each other. And, she adds, in many ways it doesn’t come any closer to voicing the authentic challenges – lack of social supports, maternal ambivalence and regrets – than June Cleaver did.

Judiciary doesn’t look like society it judges, says Osgoode professor

Twenty years ago, women were absent from the bench. Today, visible minorities, immigrants and natives remain under-represented among the judiciary, wrote the Montreal Gazette June 5 in a commentary about the controversy over the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court.

If judges bring their full experience as human beings to bear – and one would hope they would, in a fair and unbiased way – then it is important, as James Stribopoulos, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said, “that the whole of the judiciary looks like the society it judges.” As he also pointed out, “And right now, it doesn’t.”

York humanities professor studied with late folklorist

Violetta (Letty) Halpert and her eminent folklorist husband Herbert turned [folklore studies] into a thriving academic discipline at Memorial University in St. John’s, drawing scholars and students from around the world, wrote The Globe and Mail June 5 in an obituary.

“Without her, the program would not have developed as it did, and they would not have had the archives that they do,” said York University folklorist Professor Carole Carpenter of York’s Faculty of Arts. “Letty was a strong-willed, dignified, knowledgeable woman, who was extremely widely read and a wonderful conversationalist,” she said. “I tried my darndest to be the daughter she never had.”

Described as her husband’s “best editor, supporter and colleague”, Halpert also served as an unofficial adviser and editor to graduate students, including Carpenter, wrote the Globe.

Chrysler still faces challenges

Were I at all jingoistic, I’d be declaring the saving of Chrysler the work of a good Canadian education system, wrote motoring columnist David Booth in the National Post June 5. Indeed, our friends over at the Old and Male did exactly that when extolling Sergio Marchionne’s (CEO of Fiat and the man who will save Chrysler) upbringing in Toronto and his schooling here in the Great White Frozen North (University of Toronto, an MBA from the University of Windsor and a law degree [LLB ’83] from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School).

And, indeed, it is entirely possible Marchionne will be some day credited as one of the saviours of the US auto industry…. But before we get all mushy about yet another underdog comeback story, let us not forget that there are still serious obstacles to the resurrection of Chrysler. Let us not kid ourselves: The combination of an Italian automaker that’s never been successful in North America and Detroit’s most sickly cousin is hardly the stuff that inspires confidence.

Breakfast lessons for MPs bridge science, political gap

Bridget Stutchbury, biology professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, actually tied tiny backpacks on the birds, with transmitters, in order to track them, wrote the Ottawa Citizen June 5 in a story about a breakfast lecture she gave for Parliamentarians and staff. The series is put on by the Partnership Group for Science & Engineering, a scientists’ association.

Fine arts grad to dance at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre

Toronto’s Project Sugar Dance Company is bringing the Carnival Cabaret to Port Hope June 12 and 13, wrote June 4. The performance shares the journey of a young girl who is looking for her place in the traveling carnival.

“I love the idea of making theatre that’s really inclusive and accessible, like a book that takes you into a different world,” said Jesse Dell (BFA Spec. Hons. ’03), who grew up north of Port Hope, on a farm in Campbellcroft.

She went to Port Hope High School and then left for Toronto to study dance at York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Since then she has been busy collaborating with other artists as a dancer and choreographer. She’s always wanted to bring her unique brand of contemporary dance back to Port Hope.

NB grad plans to use SSHRC grant for study at York

St. Thomas University graduate Lisa Wallace was awarded a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate scholarship valued at $17,500 from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue graduate studies this fall, wrote The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton, NB) June 5.

Wallace completed an honours degree in economics and was awarded the University Medal for academic excellence. She plans to use her funding to pursue a master’s degree in environmental studies at York University.

A first time for York grad

Even though she’s used to performing in front of a sold-out crowd, jazz artist Madeline Forster (BA ’08) still gets nervous before every show, wrote June 4. “That’s why I try not to think about it before I perform or else I’d get stage fright,” said Forster, a native of Fairport, NY. “I always like to be alone and have my time to prepare for a gig. When I get up on stage, I do get nervous. But when I’m up there I lose myself in the moment.”

Forster is no stranger to jazz aficionados on this side of the border, having regularly performed in Toronto. In fact, Forster made her singing debut at The Rex, one of Canada’s premier jazz clubs located in the Big Smoke. A newcomer to the jazz scene, Forster was trained in classical voice at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York. While attending York University’s Faculty of Health, she took jazz vocal classes.

Grad singer will honour D-Day at memorial program

Allison Kremer (BA Hons. ’88) will perform songs from the First World War and Second World War, including This is the Army, Jones, White Cliffs of Dover, Harbour Lights, Roll Out the Barrel and many more, wrote The Lindsay Post June 5 in a preview of the program at the Fenelon Falls Museum for June 6, the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

Kremer is an associate at the Royal Conservatory of Music with a degree in singing performance, an honours graduate of York University in creative arts (music) and a graduate of the Phil Mattson Vocal Jazz Workshop at Western Michigan University.

Lions’ long snapper feeling right at home

While some players needed planes, trains and automobiles to get to the BC Lions’ training camp in Abbotsford, BC, David Mills barely had to cross the street, wrote Canwest News Service June 4. The former York Lions football player was born in Abbotsford just shy of 27 years ago and he and his wife Lindsay, who’s expecting in July, make their home there now.

That’s not the only thing that sets Mills apart: He’s the only player among the 80-odd invited to camp who is listed simply as a “long snapper”. “I played defensive back and then defensive end in [university],” the 6-foot-2, 213-pound Mills said Thursday as rookie camp opened. “And I was a backup linebacker. But long snapping is what I’ll be doing here. I can do other things, but this is what they want me to do.”

Former hockey player makes bid NHL team

Former hockey player Herb Carnegie, after whom North York’s Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre is named, is part of a new group expected to announce June 5 a bid to bring a second NHL team to the Greater Toronto Area, wrote the North York Mirror June 4.

Carnegie, 89, is a well-known name in the hockey world. Carnegie was the first black hockey player to be offered a chance to play in the National Hockey League. In 2006, York University presented him with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Schulich students shine at international business games

For many years, L’Oréal has been developing groundbreaking strategies, such as business games, to detect and help build the business leaders of tomorrow, wrote Orleans EMC June 5. Canadian students have proven to be incredibly talented and our universities extremely strong in these international competitions. In fact, in 2008, Canadian teams won two out of the three games (Ingenius & e-Strat). The 2008 international e-Strat Challenge was won by a team of students from York University’s Schulich School of Business.

On air

  • York’s plans to boost undergraduate enrolment were discussed on several broadcast outlets June 4, including CP24-TV, 680News, Classical 96.3, FM 92.1 (Brantford), AM640, 105.3 Kool FM (Waterloo) and 580 CFRA (Ottawa).
  • Sarah Flicker, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, spoke about her study on teens’ sexual health, on Talk 1410 Radio (Vancouver) June 4.
  • Sean Rehaag, professor of immigration and refugee law in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about the chances of Mikhail Lennikov’s bid to avoid deportation succeeding on CBC Radio (Fredericton, NB) June 4.
  • York graduate student Sheila Colla and Laurence Packer, biology professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about their studies of bees on Discovery TV’s “Daily Planet” June 4