TTC’s Spadina extension gets started

As dignitaries broke ground on a $2.6-billion Spadina subway extension into Vaughan yesterday, Toronto Mayor David Miller said he thinks the next subway expansion should be the Downtown Relief Line (DRL), not the proposed Yonge line elongation into Richmond Hill, wrote the National Post Nov. 28. “If the core doesn’t work, the region doesn’t work,” the mayor said.

Miller and politicians from three levels of government stuck their shovels in the earth of a field adjacent to Downsview subway station, the current end of the Spadina line, to mark the start of work on the $2.6-billion, 8.6-kilometre project slated for completion in 2015.

Jim Bradley, the Ontario transport minister, said subway expansion will knit together the vast and densely populated region, making a crucial stop at York University, and will ease congestion: “Extending the subway from Downsview into Vaughan will take 30 million car trips off Toronto and York Region roads every year.”

  • Ground was broken Friday, Nov. 27, on a link that will connect the future Spadina subway extension mainline to the Wilson subway yard at Allen Road and Sheppard Avenue, wrote Nov. 27.

The $14,340,000 link between the Wilson subway yard on Allen Road to Downsview subway station across the street is part of a $2.6-billion subway extension project that will add 8.6 kilometres from Downsview station to the Vaughan Corporate Centre in York Region. Project completion is expected in late 2015.

The extension will have six stations along the route: Sheppard West, Finch West, York University, Steeles West, Highway 407 and Vaughan Corporate Centre.

  • York student Heather Kelly spoke about the start of construction of the Spadina subway extension through York’s Keele campus, on Citytv Nov. 27.
  • News of the groundbreaking was covered on most radio and television stations in Toronto.

How Osgoode grad sleeps at night

In 40 years as a barrister, Osgoode Hall Law School grad John Rosen (LLB ’68) has defended 300 people accused of murder – more than any other lawyer in Ontario, possibly in Canada, wrote the National Post Nov. 28. Best known is Paul Bernardo, the rapist and murderer convicted in 1995 for killing St. Catharines schoolgirls Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. Rosen also represented Min Chen, the exchange student who pleaded guilty in 2006 to the second-degree murder of nine-year-old Cecilia Zhang.

“His success rate in homicides is enviable, to say the least,” says classmate Richard Goldman (LLB ’68), also a criminal defence lawyer. “I don’t know anybody who comes close.”

John Rosen’s grandparents immigrated to Toronto early in the past century. He is the eldest of six children, whom his father supported with his Bay Street dry-cleaning shop, Imperial Cleaners, across from the Toronto Coach Terminal. At age 16, Rosen began driving the dry-cleaning delivery truck after school.

“That’s how I met [celebrated defence lawyer and fellow York grad] Clay Ruby (BA ’63),” he recalls, between bites of linguinie in tomato sauce. “I would deliver dry cleaning to his house. His father knew my father. He would insist that I come in and have dinner with the Ruby family.

“Doctors, lawyers, bankers, businessmen, bookmakers, alleged gangsters. They were all my dad’s customers. I got to keep the change.”

Rosen’s daughters “were not much older” than Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French when he was defending Bernardo for their rape and murder. I asked him how that felt. “It’s like any other profession,” he says. “It’s what professionalism is. You train yourself to take an objective view and you compartmentalize your personal feelings. You don’t allow them to colour your professional judgment.”

Still, after the Bernardo case, Rosen decided to stop defending accused killers. He took a job at a white-shoe law firm, Davies Ward & Beck. “It was not for me," he says. “It moved too slowly. The pay was great, the people were very nice. But I’m a barrister, I’m not a solicitor. I just can’t take four or five years to get a case to court and have it settle [at] the courtroom door.”

Bullying-prevention study urges move from awareness to action

While increased awareness [of the most effective methods to stop bullying] is cause for encouragement, experts caution that real progress lies in empowering children with the tools to turn knowledge into action, wrote Fort McMurray Today Nov. 28.

The study titled “Standing Up to Bullying: What are Children and Youth Saying?” was conducted by Debra Pepler, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology in York’s Faculty of Health, York PhD candidate M. Catherine Cappadocia (MA ’09), and Joanne G. Cummings (BA Hons. ’91, MA ’94, PhD ’09) at PREVNet.

According to Pepler, these findings suggest that while parents and educators are making progress with respect to educating children about effective strategies to diffuse bullying situations, more emphasis needs to be placed on providing children with the skills and practical examples that will help them take action and stand up to bullying. “We know that bullying is a relationship problem where one child has more power than another,” said Pepler.

Before ‘I do,’ make sure you’re a money match

After doing some number-crunching, finance Professor Moshe Milevsky, of the Schulich School of Business at York, came to the conclusion that his personal exposure to stocks should be leveraged by 300 per cent, wrote The Globe and Mail Nov. 30 in a story about investing tips. Good thing he checked with his wife first. Her reaction was: “Are you out of your mind?” (as reported in the November issue of the Journal of Financial Planning).

Harper’s trip to China four years in the making

Bringing up issues of how China treats its own citizens has been complicated…by recent accusations that Canada knowingly turned over Afghan prisoners to what was almost certain torture, wrote The Canadian Press Nov. 30, in a story about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s upcoming visit to that country.

The story was carried in some Chinese newspapers, says York University China expert Bernie Frolic, York professor emeritus and director of the Asia Business Management Program in the York Centre for Asian Research, who was in the country at the time. Canadian news hardly ever gets any attention, the frequent visitor notes; although Frolic adds he doesn’t know whether the airing of this particular news item was calculated to put Harper on the defensive.

Mining firms need to be held accountable

The Star is to be commended once again for bringing a very important matter to public attention, wrote Louis Lefeber, professor emeritus of economics and a founding director of York’s Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, in a letter to the Toronto Star Nov. 28. The picture on the front page says more than a thousand words.

German human rights volunteers also made their pictures and videos available for use by Malcolm Rogge in his prize-winning 90-minute documentary film, Under Rich Earth, screened at September’s Toronto International Film Festival, and on several other occasions.

Police chief hiring is political, says Osgoode prof

James Sheptycki, a criminology professor at York University, said policing in general has a distinct hierarchy and individual discretion actually increases as you move down the ladder from chief to constable on the street, wrote the Stoney Creek News and Ancaster News Nov. 27 in a story about the hiring of a new police chief in Hamilton.

Sheptycki suggested the appointment of a chief is more political than operational. “Remember, the chief is primarily focused outwards at the community,” Sheptycki said. “It is the deputy chief who is more in charge of operations.”

Oshawa company hopes to make the Internet accessible around the world

Imagine everyone in the world having a computer and access to the Internet. It’s a big idea that Oshawa-based company General Discovery hopes to make a reality someday, wrote Oshawa This Week Nov. 27.

It involves the production and distribution of a small, inexpensive laptop for people in developing countries around the globe. “It’s a laptop that acts as a hybrid between a computer and a digital book reader,” said Evan Leibovitch (BA ’78), a York grad and an open source architect with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University.

Architectural ‘gem’ well worth saving, church members say

There’s an almost palpable sense of pride among those at St. George’s Anglican Church most closely involved in the restoration work that’s going on there, wrote the Owen Sound Sun Times Nov. 30.

The church was designed by Marshall Aylesworth, the architect behind some dozen churches and 24 other buildings, according to Laurie McBride (BA Spec. Hons. ’95), a graduate art history student in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts who is researching his work. She calls St. George’s “the most spectacular” of the Anglican churches he designed.

Diabetes costs Ontario health system $5 billion per year

Illona Muszynski’s household can’t seem to avoid the financial burden of diabetes, wrote The Hamilton Spectator Nov. 27. Both her husband, Joe Piette, 47, and their daughter, 18-year-old Andrea Piette, have Type 1 diabetes.

The province pays for the insulin pump for all Type 1 diabetics in Ontario, regardless of income, up to $6,300. It also provides an annual grant of $2,400 for pump supplies.

Joe and Andrea, a first-year York University student, began using the pump eight years ago to good effect.

Three young leaders honoured at gala dinner

Avi Charney (BA ’07) completed his bachelor’s degree in York University’s Faculty of Health and is currently obtaining his law degree through distance studies at the University of London, wrote the Thornhill Liberal Nov. 29 in a story about the inaugural Chabad Youth Network Gala Benefit at Terrace Banquet Hall in Vaughan. Charney’s connection to Chabad Youth Network originates back to his student days at Westmount Collegiate Institute in Thornhill, when, as a drummer in a rock band, he began studies with Rabbi Shmuli Nachlas, director of the youth network.

Today, Charney is known for his leadership abilities, his strong work ethic and charismatic personality. His initial contribution to the development of Chabad Youth Network and his ongoing support of its programs have earned him a well-deserved seat on the advisory board. He is a dedicated volunteer who selflessly contributes his time and energies to others within the Jewish community.

Broadway comes to Stouffville Sunday

Stouffville United Church, 34 Church St. north of Main Street, is hosting a Stouffville United Music concert with the Drum Corps Alumni Toronto Chorus on Sunday at 7:30pm, wrote the Whitchurch-Stouffville Sun-Tribune Nov. 29.

Also performing is Stouffville’s Aaron Clubine on steel drum. The music student at York University won Stouffville’s Student Music Scholarship award last year.

York grad offers group training solution

Paul Lawson (BFA Spec. Hons. ’84) is using strength in numbers to help keep people healthy, wrote BC’s Vernon Morning Star Nov. 28.

Lawson, who operates Premier Personal Fitness, noticed the growing trend in group training in the fitness industry, and wanted to merge this with the more technical sessions usually associated with a personal trainer. The result is the Aspire Health & Fitness class he teaches at Cheek to Cheek Dance Studio, where he combines the social elements of group fitness with the focus of personal training.

“Using the group training format I can a design a workout for a small group of people, giving them personal instruction to improve their technique and to modify the exercise for the individual if needed,” said Lawson, who earned a degree in dance from York University before studying to become a personal trainer.

Burma trip will be an eye-opener

Tha Dar Hsae paid little attention to politics when she lived in Burma, wrote the Orillia Packet & Times Nov. 28. The 23-year-old York University student says she didn’t think much about how the military regime had limited her freedom. In retrospect, Hsae realizes it’s because she was never given the chance. “We are not allowed to talk about politics – or anything,” she says, walking the grounds of the sprawling University campus.

Artist brightens up school’s foyer

On a (previously) orange pillar in the front foyer of St. Teresa’s School, Silvia Ferreri-Saraceni’s imagination has been released and a fantastic scene is emerging, wrote The Peterborough Examiner Nov. 28. She is doing what she loves to do, painting. This has been her vision since her children entered this school seven years ago.

Ferreri-Saraceni (BFA Spec. Hons. ’85) is a busy woman. She co-owns Pensieri Shoes with her husband, Joseph Saraceni, and also works at the store. She is a mother of two who is an active volunteer at her children’s school. On top of this, she still finds time to pursue her passion, art.

After attending York University for four years and receiving a specialized honours degree in art, Ferreri-Saraceni came back to Peterborough with Joseph and opened the store. At that time she became interested in the trompe l’oeil style of painting. This has become her specialty.

Ferreri-Saraceni has been painting in the Peterborough area for 20 years. You may have seen some of her work around town. She painted the murals on the west-facing outside wall of the Parkhill On Hunter restaurant. She also painted the mural in Cuisine of Italy, at the corner of George and Lake streets.

Canadians strike bronze at Para swimming world championships

Cynthia Berringer of Mississauga just missed the podium at the International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships, for swimmers with a disability, finishing fourth in the women’s 400 freestyle in the S6 category, wrote Canwest News Service Nov. 29. She clocked a season best 7:04.14 in her first world championship debut. “It was really exciting to be in my first international event,” said Berringer, 22, a psychology student at York University. “I felt really good in the race and my strokes were long.”

Justice David Marshall leaves legacy behind

At the age of 70, Justice Thomas David Colbeck Haydon Marshall, MD, of Dunnville passed away suddenly on Friday, Nov. 20, at his beloved home, The Hermitage, in North Cayuga, wrote The Sachem and Glanbrook Gazette Nov. 27. Justice Marshall (LLB ’70) was recovering from prostate surgery.

Justice Marshall graduated from Dunnville Secondary School, and in 1963 graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. In 1970 he graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1972.

On air

  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the impact of planned legislation for a harmonized sales tax, on Toronto’s 680News Radio Nov. 27.
  • Theo Peridis, policy professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the airline industry and a new round of cheaper fares, on Global TV Nov. 27.
  • York grad Lesli Bisgould (BA ’88, LLB ’90), lawyer and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, spoke about the controversy surrounding the Toronto Humane Society, on Sun TV’s “Canoe Live” Nov. 27.