York grad sworn in as York Region police chief

A new era in policing has begun in York Region, wrote YorkRegion.com Dec. 14.

Monday, Eric Jolliffe (BA Spec. Hons. ’85) was sworn in as the service’s seventh chief of police at a ceremony in York Regional Chambers in Newmarket in front of more than 200 people.

Jolliffe takes over from former chief [and fellow York grad] Armand La Barge (BA Hons. ’95), who ended a 37-year career in policing Dec. 10.

Jolliffe began with York Regional Police in 1981, and has served as deputy chief since 2002. As the region’s new top cop, Jolliffe wants to strengthen ties with community groups. “We have grown community-based policing here in the region and the way you grow community-based policing is by developing partners in the community and that’s exactly what we’ve done and exactly what we’re going to continue to do,” Jolliffe said.

Jolliffe holds a bachelor of arts honours degree from York University, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and FBI LEED program in Quantico, Va., the University of Toronto’s Joseph L. Rotman School of Management and is currently enrolled in the master of leadership program at Victoria, BC’s Royal Roads University.

University reopens after fire

York University students were being bused back to a reopened Keele campus Tuesday after a fire in a utilities building Monday shut down the Ontario school’s boilers and generators, leaving the campus without heat, wrote the National Post Dec. 15. Monday evening exams and Tuesday exams were postponed. The approximately 4,000 students living on campus were forced to vacate their rooms Monday. Students were encouraged to stay with friends and family. For the rest, York booked hotel rooms across the city, and about 1,100 students checked in. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

  • Most major broadcast media also reported on the fire and the reopening of Keele campus.

Are we at the end of the liner?

It’s a bit early to pronounce the death-due-to-downloading of the liner note, but the situation is critical, wrote The Globe and Mail Review Dec. 15. So warns Rob Bowman, ethnomusicologist, professor of music in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and a Grammy-winning (and multiple-nominee) writer of album notes. Five or six years ago, he worked on about 20 projects a year. Last year, he was down to four.

“With the music industry falling apart the way it has been the last few years, record companies are doing less and less with their catalogue…so there are a lot fewer liner notes actually being written,” says Bowman.

Example: When he was approached about Bettye LaVette’s Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, he was initially just asked to write something for the press bio. He argued the project deserved liner notes. They ultimately agreed. But a few years ago, it would have been a given.

Now with record companies pinched for cash and doing fewer re-issues (boxed sets are a natural home for enhanced liner notes), and more music being bought digitally, liner notes are in danger of being considered a frill, Bowman says, something he bemoans not just as a writer, but as a consumer. “Liner notes that are done well will include all sorts of interesting and original new things about how this work came to be, what its meaning is, what kind of impact it’s had. Liner notes, if they’re done really well, will totally transform the listening experience.”

Bowman writes the kind of liner notes that transcend the definition. His contribution to The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Volume 3: 1972-1975, for which he won a Grammy in 1996, was a 47,000-word monograph – about half the length of a typical book contract. “That particular set of liner notes was the equivalent of getting half a book of original researched stuff that nobody had read, nobody knew, based on, in that case, about 100 interviews…. This is not casual fluff.”

Specyal T performing at her former Midland school

Since she graduated from MSS in 2002, Trish Hylton (BFA Spec. Hons. ’06) has steadily climbed the music industry ladder, expanding her brand in all aspects of the industry. This week, she’ll be returning to Midland to perform for the first time since she graduated high school and went to York University to study music composition. She’ll be performing with Catherine Marie, the first musician Hylton has signed for her production company.

Hylton, who goes by Specyal T, has found success in the years since leaving Midland. She’s signed with Universal Music, released her debut studio album and started her own production company, Specyal T Productions.

Born in Toronto, she was adopted and moved to Midland when she was three. At six her dad put her in piano lessons, where her love of music flourished. There was never a question growing up that she would end up in the music industry, but until her later years in high school she always assumed she would work as a pianist.

Creating her own music, Hylton uses everything she’s listened to and learned in order to create her own sound. Her talents have been turning heads for more than five years.

Man charged in hit-and-run death of York student

A 26-year-old man accused of running down and killing a York University finance student in the Entertainment District initially left the country but returned to face a murder charge Tuesday, police said, wrote The Globe and Mail Dec. 15.

The fight allegedly began in the early morning hours of Nov. 27, inside Rockwood Nightclub. “It was nothing major – just a silly dispute on the dance floor,” said Toronto Police Det. Paul Worden.

The fight continued outside, where a rented SUV drove over to Vincent Dang’s group and struck the 20-year-old on the sidewalk, an incident captured on a nearby security camera, police said.

The suspect, Naveen Ariaratnam, flew to Sri Lanka shortly after. On Tuesday, he returned to Toronto on a 12:15pm flight. His passport had been flagged and he was arrested. He is charged with second-degree murder. Ariaratnam is set to appear in Old City Hall court Wednesday morning.

  • The Toronto Star, the National Post and the Toronto Sun also reported on Ariaratnam’s arrest Dec. 15.

On air

  • Stuart Shanker, distinguished research professor in psychology and philosophy in York’s Faculty of Health and director of the Milton & Ethel Harris Research Initiative at York University, spoke about anxiety in children, on CBC Radio’s “Ideas” program Dec. 14.
  • Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, political science professor and director of South Asian Studies in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, took part in a panel discussion about the rise in the size of the middle class, due largely to rising standards of living in China and India, on TVO’s “The Agenda” Dec. 14.
  • Ben Quine, professor of space engineering in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, and York PhD student Mark Post (MSC ’09), spoke about the Northern Lights project to land a Canadian space vehicle on Mars, on Discovery TV’s “Daily Planet” Dec. 14.