Riders pledge to drive as GO kills bus routes

While the Ontario government is investing billions in public transit, hundreds of York Region riders are accusing GO Transit of driving them back into their cars by cancelling two Newmarket bus routes, wrote the Toronto Star March 11.

Citing low ridership and the need to integrate with York Region’s regular service and Viva express buses, GO will discontinue the 92B bus to York Mills on April 5, and the Newmarket-York University bus on April 26.

The move makes commutes longer and more expensive, said more than 200 GO riders who attended a meeting Tuesday with GO and York Region officials. About 500 people ride the two Newmarket routes, which operate on weekdays. GO did not say how many riders are needed to make the routes viable.

York University student Francis Babu says he will probably drive to school rather than endure a commute made 90 minutes longer by the service cancellation.

The economic climate is forcing GO to make tough choices, said Vanessa Thomas, a spokesperson for the agency. However, “the motivation for no longer operating this service was not solely a cost-saving measure.” It has always been a part of GO’s plan to withdraw some services as local transit matures, said Thomas.

  • The standing-room-only crowd that attended Tuesday’s town hall meeting over the planned cancellation of GO bus routes at least left with assurances their voices would be heard, wrote the Aurora Banner March 10.

While he is not a rider, many York University students are and they are concerned about the prospect of longer commutes and greater expense, said Krisna Saravanamuttu, York Federation of Students president. “Students need more options; not less,” Saravanamuttu added.

Others spoke on behalf of staff and faculty at York, and said they, too, would be negatively impacted.

Aurora’s Edward Fenner, a mature student and staff member at York International who also has an online petition on the go, said the meeting was a good start, but added there are still many issues yet to be addressed.

Nigeria’s bloody strife is just a text message away

In Jos, a dusty tin mining town where jobs have dwindled with the industry, the roots [of racial tensions] stretch back to the 19th century, wrote the Toronto Star March 11 in a story about ethnic violence in Nigeria that is being stoked by modern technology.

“There were parts of the Plateau (state) that were never conquered by the Sokoto Caliphate, which was the dominant Muslim state,” said Paul Lovejoy, history professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and director of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migration of African Peoples, an authority on Nigeria who has travelled there since 1968. “Jos was a hill retreat for people who didn’t want to join it.”

$100M won’t save Miller’s legacy

When Professor Emeritus Harvey Schwartz of York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies projected [Toronto’s deficit] would rise to $4.69-billion between 2010 and 2019, and raised the spectre of a downgraded credit rating, budget chief Shelley Carroll said his figures were out of date, wrote the National Post March 11 in a story about a budget statement by Toronto Mayor David Miller. “But he is right that we have a growing debt problem,” she added.

From the streets to the canvas

Whether capturing dark alleys, cement underground walkways, cold office buildings, or the bright lights of Las Vegas, painter Janet Jones, a visual arts professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, showcases the often-overlooked nooks and crannies of a city, wrote the Barrie Advance March 10.

“I like capturing those sterile corporate public, private places,” she said.

Jones’ work is now on display in her DaDa Delirium exhibition at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie.

Peterborough’s most imaginative woman (1873)

Happily, Isabella Valancy Crawford’s writing is now readily available in book form, wrote Michael Peterman, professor emeritus at Trent University, in a story about the local Victorian author in The Peterborough Examiner March 11. Broadview Press, with offices on Perry Street in Peterborough, published Winona in 2006 and Collected Stories of Isabella Valancy Crawford came out in December 2009 from Canadian Poetry Press in London, Ont.

English Professor Len Early of York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, who co-edited the aforementioned books with me, is currently working on a much-needed scholarly collection of Crawford’s poetry.

Three new installations open at Artspace Friday

Three new installations are at Artspace with the opening on Friday, March 12, wrote The Peterborough Examiner March 11. The series of projects offer “a dark look into the realities of fear, conflict and mystery” and opens from 7 to 10pm.

Installations include Daryl Vocat‘s The Secret of the Midnight Shadow. Vocat (MFA ’01), born in Regina, is a visual artist living and working in Toronto. He completed his master of fine arts degree at York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Award winner’s daughter and business partner is a York grad

Calgarian Jean Silzer, president of Details Convention & Event Management, will be honoured by her peers with an Industry Builder Award for her service to the profession she chose 22 years ago, wrote the Calgary Herald March 11, in a story about the Meeting & Incentive Travel Hall of Fame Awards.

She bought out her partner 15 years ago…[and] continued to grow her business on her own until she was joined by her daughter Niesa Silzer (BFA Spec. Hons. ’95) four years ago. While Niesa was earning her bachelor of fine arts at York University, she was invited to Livent workshops. After graduation, she was hired as stage manager for Ragtime and Mamma Mia in Toronto and toured across the United States.

Real estate attorney apologizes to victim

A Barrie lawyer convicted of fraud and forgery stood and apologized to his victim and to his family just before he was taken off to jail, wrote the Barrie Examiner and the Toronto Sun March 11 in a story about a case involving an Osgoode grad and current graduate student.

Myles McLellan (LLB ’78), 55, a real estate lawyer who has since been disbarred, was sentenced to 22 months in jail. After two-for-one credit for almost four months he served in pre-trial custody, and after a one-month credit because he was on bail that limited his freedom, his end total sentence was 14 months in jail. However, he can apply for early release on parole to continue his studies in law.

McLellan will be back in a Toronto court May 31 for a preliminary hearing in connection with further frauds that he allegedly committed against a Barrie land developer.

On air

  • York Professor Emeritus Graham Orpwood of the Faculty of Education discussed a new study of college students’ math skills on CBC Radio’s “Here & Now” program March 10. 680News also reported on the study March 10.
  • Robert Latham, director of York’s Centre for International & Security Studies, and Qasim Farah, a York graduate student, spoke about the possible recruiting of young Canadian Somalis by Al Shahab, an organization that has been added to the government’s list of terrorist organizations, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” March 10.
  • Janine Marchessault, a professor in the Film Department of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, spoke about plagiarism and artistic appropriation, on CBC Radio’s “Ideas” program March 10.
  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the coffee war between McDonald’s and Tim Hortons, on BNN-TV March 10.