York student could die without bone marrow transplant

Stephen Pho, a 22-year-old York University kinesiology student, may only have two months to live if he doesn’t get a bone marrow transplant, wrote The Peterborough Examiner  and The Toronto Sun June 24.

Pho was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia three years ago, a cancer of the white blood cells, which normally help fight infections. Because Stephen is Vietnamese-Chinese, his older sister is putting out a message for the Southeast Asian community to come forward.

Canada ‘s stem cell network is 82 per cent Caucasian with only 0.1 per cent from Southeast Asian heritage.

Fake guitars rake in real cash

The instruments may be fake, but the $100,000 prize money was definitely real, wrote Canwest News Service June 24. Four band mates from York University were left almost speechless after winning one of the biggest cash prizes in Canadian video game history, outperforming three other finalists in front of a massive Toronto crowd to claim the title of Rock Band 2 gods in the Amp Energy $100,000 Rock Off.

"I don’t know what to say," stammered Ramzie Aburaneh, 19, the foursome’s lead vocalist in an interview after the win June 20. "We joined as a joke."

The top four performed at Toronto’s North by Northeast Music Festival in front of the three celebrity judges – Juno Award-nominated musician Ian Thornley, from the band Thornley, Rob Lind of the festival’s headlining band, The Sonics, and Nelson Triana, captain of Canada’s pro-gaming tour team, North of 49.

Aburaneh, a Cambridge, resident, said when he walked on stage and saw the crowd he just "blanked out."

Sky’s no limit for developers of 20-kilometre space elevator

A Canadian technology company has a futuristic idea: a freestanding elevator that stops 20 kilometres above the Earth, is capable of launching satellites into space and could be used for communications networks around the world, wrote Canwest News Service June 24 in a story about a space elevator concept developed at York.

The space elevator concept is being commercialized by Thoth Technologies Inc., a Canadian company led by St. John’s, N.L. native Caroline Roberts and her husband, Brendan Quine, a professor in York University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering.

In Thoth’s proposal, a satellite would ride to the top of the elevator and be launched by rocket from the top, saving an entire stage from the usual rocket launch sequence. "You’ll still need rockets at 20 kilometres but the advantage is it’s about 30 per cent more efficient to launch into space," said Quine. "So you save an awful lot of rocket fuel and an awful lot of potential pollution from launching spacecraft."

Muskoka Mosaic: Introducing Bev MacWilliams

York grad Bev MacWilliams’ tie to Huntsville is so strong, he’s been able to package it in a business , wrote the Huntsville Forester June 23. “That’s what helped drive the business: my love for this town,” says the co-owner of Muskoka Language International. “ Huntsville is a pretty magical place.”

In 1995, MacWilliams (BA ’78) and his Huntsville friend Michael Ruby brought their first group of 53 Japanese girls to town so the students could practice their English and experience life here. “At the time we were thinking it was just a neat summer thing to do,” he says.

Now, Muskoka Language International arranges short-term and long-term stays in small towns across Canada for thousands of students from more than a dozen countries each year. The company has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Tokyo and Seoul.

MacWilliams began dating Katie (BA’78, BEd ’78) (Cope) MacWilliams, his wife of 28 years, in high school and they both attended York University. After graduating with a degree in history and political science, MacWilliams went to Nipissing for teachers’ college. At the end of the year, he was offered a teaching job in a remote fly-in native community on Lake Athabasca in Saskatchewan.

Ajax council scores well in York prof’s report

Ajax councillors continue to be cognizant of the need for economic growth, fighting against developers who attempt to rezone property for housing, which has been set aside for employment opportunities , wrote the Ajax News-Advertiser June 23. It helps that Ajax councillors have one of the lowest ratios of developer and union contributions to municipal election campaigns outside of Toronto. But a report from York University Professor [Bob MacDermid] on municipal election campaign contributions also notes Ajax has a higher number of councillors paying for their own campaigns, which helps the rich run for office. A median must be found to make sure all have an opportunity to run for council.

York graduate student joins protest against Caledonia ‘Peacekeepers’

This town became Caledonia for an evening as two bitterly opposed groups faced off Tuesday night with insults and warring news releases at the Lions Club Hall, wrote The Brantford Expositor June 24 in a story about a meeting of a group called the Caledonia Peackeepers that drew protests by members of York’s Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group. A couple of weeks ago the group started by calling itself the Caledonia Militia, wrote the Expositor.

"We oppose the threat of violence and escalation of the problem," said Niki Thorne, a York University graduate student and working group member. "This is a bigger issue. This is not just about Caledonia. We need to settle all land claims in a crisp, peaceful and fair manner."

Two terriers will skate for York’s hockey Lions

The Couchiching Terriers hockey team’s pedigree will be in rinks all over North America next season. Many of the players who have graduated from last year’s top-ranked Ontario Junior Hockey League team will be playing for university and college teams throughout North America next winter, wrote The Orillia Packet & Times June 24.

Mackenzie Micks, who finished fourth in team scoring last year, along with Brad Ouskun, a late season acquisition who solidified the blueline, will both skate for York University this winter.

On air

  • Mark Winfield, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, spoke about his hopes for people to become more sensitive to garbage issues as a result of the strike by City of Toronto outside workers, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” June 23.
  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about impact of the strike by the Toronto’s outside workers, on 680News Radio June 23.
  • Eric Armstrong, theatre professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts and a voice-coach, spoke about actors and the impact of their character’s accents, on CBC Radio’s “Q” June 23.
  • James Gillies, professor emeritus in the Schulich School of Business at York University, and William Dimma, a member of York’s Board of Governors, spoke about business during the recession on BNN-TV June 23.