Lions pick a winner in Craney, says Star

York University has a new head football coach, wrote the Toronto Star May 9.

He had a say in the success of new Toronto Argonauts linebacker Cory Greenwood, a third overall pick in the recent Canadian Football League draft, and now Warren Craney is hoping to change things for the better at York.

A coach with the Concordia University Stingers in Montreal for the past 11 seasons – six as defensive coordinator, where he coached Greenwood – Craney will formally be announced as the Lions’ newest recruit on Monday.

“The only way to win is with GTA players,” said Craney. “While it won’t be easy, my job is to build credibility, a successful program, win the battle of recruiting and own the best (graduating high-school) players in this area.”

The 41-year-old from Kirkland, Que., has some impressive credentials, enough that a selection committee convinced York’s Sport & Recreation athletic director Jennifer Myers that he was the man for the Lions.

“He’s perfect for our job,” said Myers. “With his character, enthusiasm and network, we have the right guy. Over the next three years, things will change and we’re expecting to win the GTA recruiting battle.”

Craney, an assistant coach at the Canadian University East-West all-star game on Saturday at the University of Western Ontario’s TD Waterhouse Stadium, will earn a salary close to six figures, Myers said.

Craney is charged with rebuilding the worst university football program in Canada. “No one can understand why there has been such disarray with the football program at York and I’m committed to changing things,” said Craney, a father of four. “Some of the top players in Canada came out of the Greater Toronto Area and it’s time to put pride back in the program and have York become Toronto’s team. We need to build – fast.”

Craney is widely respected among the Canadian football coaching fraternity. Greenwood is among three Concordia players who won the Presidents’ Trophy as the outstanding defensive player in Canadian university football while under Craney’s tutelage.

Earlier this year, Craney was defensive coordinator for Team World in a 17-0 loss to Team USA during Pro Bowl week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He also coached Team Canada at the world junior under-20 all-star game in Canton, Ohio.

Thinking through motherhood Mother’s Day

Until recently, motherhood didn’t qualify as a subject worthy of scholarly study, wrote the Toronto Star May 8. The collective voice of mothers is seldom heard in ivory towers or corridors of power, or in the discussion of policies that affect us all.

“The minute you’re a mother, you’re aware of the absence,” says Andrea O’Reilly, 49, a professor in York’s School of Women’s Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “Motherhood is the blind spot.” She wanted to change that.

Earlier this year, mounting debt forced the Association for Research on Mothering, which had space at York but never received operating funding, to close its doors. The University acknowledged the association’s renown and 550 paying members, but would not provide funds.

This month, following a groundswell of support from researchers in 15 countries, including Australia, Brazil and Spain, the association was reborn as an independent organization. The new Motherhood Initiative for Research & Community Involvement will be funded through memberships, sales of its publications, grants and fundraising.

The Pill’ packed great promise, but what’s really changed in 50 years?

Anne Rochon Ford, co-director of the National Network on Environments & Women’s Health at York University, argues many stronger contraceptive pills developed as treatment for acne, for example, are improperly being used as long-term solutions to birth control, wrote Canwest News Service May 8.

She also cites studies that suggest 50 years of birth control may be adversely impacting fertility as hormone-infused urine leaches into waterways. "It also unleashed an era, which has gone unabated, of rising sexually transmitted diseases, because (the) use (of) other forms of protection went out of vogue and only came back in with the onset of AIDS,’’ she says. "It’s allowed women to explore their own sexuality freely without the worry of pregnancy and it has definitely, as was the publicity from the 1960s, liberated them, but there has been a price.’’

Detention-centre nurse sees potential in teens

From her humble beginnings in Jamaica as a 6-month-old baby left outside a relative’s house by an ashamed, single, teenage mother, to her own challenges as an unwed mother herself, Norma Nicholson has worked hard to achieve a dream and become a nursing leader, wrote the Toronto Star May 8.

The 63-year-old has been awarded an Honourable Mention in the Toronto Star’s Nightingale Awards.

Four previous Nightingale nomination certificates are spread across the dining room table of her Mississauga home. The fifth proved the charm. “I am so excited,” says Nicholson upon hearing the news. “Not only excited but very humbled – in giving, you don’t expect to receive anything.”

And she understands the struggles of youth, from her own life and volunteer experience, which includes mentoring at-risk youth in Mississauga (where she has lived for more than 35 years), helping them to build job skills, as well as volunteering Saturdays at a women and children’s shelter.

She encourages young people to remain in school and talks about career opportunities in her role as nurse ambassador with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. Despite her busy schedule, she presses on with a love for learning and is now studying for a certificate in health law from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, an experience she calls “awesome”.

  • It was April 1 and Pan Kitchindaophat had been in the land of Just For Laughs long enough to know that Canadians like to joke around, wrote the Toronto Star May 8.

So when the Star’s Deb Houghting called the palliative care nurse on April 1 and told she’d been selected as a Nightingale Award Honourable Nominee, she laughed out loud. “It’s April Fool’s Day! Are you fooling me?” she said.

“I couldn’t believe it,” recalls Kitchindaophat, 44, sitting in a quiet spot of the cafeteria at the William Osler Health Centre in north Etobicoke, while being interviewed. She smiles easily and often, and feels that her sunny disposition is not at all at odds with her work.

Kitchindaophat came to Canada from her native Thailand in 1996…to be with her sister who had already emigrated and was married to a Canadian but was having some medical problems. She asked if Kitchindaophat, who was working as a nurse in Thailand, could come and help her.

So Kitchindaophat quit her job and came to Canada. She decided to stay, enrolled in Seneca and got her bachelor of science in nursing (offered in collaboration with York University), while working part time. Her first nursing job was with Cambridge Memorial Hospital in continuing care, with rehabilitation parents. She’d also applied at William Osler and got a call in 2007 about a palliative care position.

Kitchindaophat got the job at the same time as she was grieving the loss of her boyfriend, who had just died after a struggle with leukemia.

York grad’s work has a place of pride in the Vatican

Achim Klaas (BA ’74) has been sculpting, painting and designing for more than 30 years, literally building an international reputation, wrote The Hamilton Spectator May 10. Much of his work is large scale: life-sized statues, altars, chapels, cemeteries.

“We do monumental scale, normally we don’t do small,” he said.

This project would be just 70 centimetres high, called a monstrance, which is a receptacle in which the host is held during ceremonies in the Catholic Church. He would be able to hold this one in his hands.

He cradled the piece of bronze for the last time two weeks ago, sitting in the blazing Italian sun, in the magnificence of St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, perhaps as many as 80,000 people there, watching Achim Arthur Klaas present His Holiness with his creation.

Klaas was born in Germany, his family moved to Hamilton when he was three. He went to school at Sacred Heart on the Mountain, loved painting, won awards for his gift as a teen, went on to take fine art at York University, then education at the University of Toronto.

On air

  • Gail Fraser, a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, spoke about a new offshore oil project in Canadian waters and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, on CBC Radio and CBC-TV May 9.
  • Sonia Lawrence, a professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about the Omar Khadr case on CBC Radio’s “The House” May 8.
  • Perry Sadorsky, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the economic turbulence in Greece and its impact on North American markets, on AM640 News May 7.