Preserved Stories Blog

Youth Speakout – Etobicoke, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 – 5:30 pm for free pizza, 6:00 p.m. Forum: Lakeshore Collegiate Institute, Auditorium

South Etobicoke Community Forum
SEYA – LAMP
and Lakeshore C.I.

p r e s e n t

Youth Speakout – Etobicoke

Wednesday, April 9 – 5:30 for free pizza, 6:00 p.m. Forum
Lakeshore Collegiate Institute, Auditorium
350 Kipling Ave, Toronto, ON M8V 3L1

Hot topics, Hot speakers

§ Post-secondary education – cost, debt, value?
Salomeh Ahmadi, Program Facilitator, Pathways to Education

§ Youth mental health – anxiety and depression
Sydney Cormier, The Jack Project

§ Engaging youth – give a damn about your community
Desmond Cole, Journalist, Torontoist.com

§ Recreation – the antidote to Drugs & Crime?
Dwane Abbott, LAMP Street Level Youth Centre

§ Youth Employment (and unemployment) – a growing crisis
Carol Goar, The Toronto Star

Brief speeches, with breakout sessions where you have your say!

 

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October 2013 news release from Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) in pursuit of meaningful involvement

I was interested to come across – by reading a comment by @jm_mcgrath regarding a tweet by @ossingtonCA – an October 2013 news release from the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN). I like that acronym: CVN. It’s brief and to the point. What you call yourself as an organization is a key part of the message you get across. Long acronyms and long titles don’t work as well as short ones, in my experience. It’s a topic that I’ve had a lot of experience with, given my interest in communications.

Here’s the title and opening paragraph of the CVN news release:

October 24, 2013 For Immediate Release

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Vancouver Communities Unite to Fix Planning Mess – Residents’ Associations Seek Meaningful Involvement

Vancouver, B.C. – Eighteen community residents’ associations, covering almost the entire City of Vancouver, have now joined together in a Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods with the specific purpose of demanding a more respectful relationship between the City and the communities. “The Coalition is working on creating a new development/planning paradigm that will stress community involvement and local influence over land use and zoning decisions,” said spokesperson Jak King.

 

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David Godley shares a perspective on the Toronto Island Airport issue

From an April 2, 2014 meeting that he attended, David Godley has shared the following overview, from the meeting, regarding the topic of the Island Airport:

“Waterfront. The theory is that Bombardier is contributing to the massive Porter campaign for extended runways and jets. A continuation of the theory is that Porter wishes to sell out making massive profits on air slots.

“A so far unarticulated negative effect of allowing jets is that instead of Pearson and the Island being complementary they would duplicate service to the detriment of the business community. The Island would be shipping people to warmer climates like Florida instead of carrying business people to more local places including Ottawa, Windsor, Sudbury, Timmins etc. This would negatively affect the economies of such Ontario cities.”

 

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Comment from David Godley regarding Bill 20, MPP Rosario Marchese’s Private Member’s Bill (regarding elimination of OMB)

The following text is from David Godley of Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey):

Bill 20, MPP Rosario Marchese’s Private Member’s Bill: Elimination of the OMB from the planning system in Toronto

The Purpose of the Bill [writes David Godley; the text you are reading is from David Godley] is to allow elimination of the Ontario Municipal Board from all planning appeals within the City of Toronto. It allows the City to set up Local Appeal Boards.

This differs from the City’s current initiative to have only severance and minor variance appeals to a Local Planning Board.

I attended a meeting at Kensington Gardens Health Facility, 45 Brunswick Street on 2 April 2014 from 7 pm to 8.30 pm. About 30 people attended. This seemed few compared to community meetings about a specific proposal and was put down to the abstract nature of the issue.

Ken Greenberg

At the moment this Bill has all party support but could be killed if there is an election or a prorogue. Also the Liberals could kill the bill at third reading or proclamation. Hearings are on April 10 at the Legislature. See appendix. Ken Greenberg, an eminent planner and formerly head of the city’s urban design team was present. He will be making a presentation for the bill.

The OMB seems to be widely denigrated by neighbourhood groups. The basic issues are accountability and the David vs Goliath issue with residents, whose neighbourhood is being changed unable to afford the necessary legal and planning expertise. The Board increasingly relies on expert evidence to the disadvantage of objectors.

There is no trust in getting a fair hearing. The OMB’s role has over the last decade become less administrative and more policy maker.

The review by the Province of Local Planning including the OMB was substituted by a development agenda and now only includes development charges, parkland dedication and bonusing under Section 37. This was put down to party donations.

In 2005 the government had given away their power to overrule the OMB for no apparent reason. A change to the Planning Act that required the OMB to have regard for the municipality’s position had no effect. Consequently the Province now is part of a Divisional Court hearing appealing the whole of the Waterloo Regional Plan against an OMB decision which favours sprawl.

Local Appeals Body

MPP Rosario [Marchese] presented and answered questions deftly. He validated questioners and soft sold his Bill. People had concerns about cost and replacing the OMB with a Local Appeals Body (LAB) that has the same problems.

Cost was addressed by saying a portion of the taxpayer cost attributed to the OMB could be downloaded from the Province to the City.

Although LAB members would still be appointed politically they would be appointed locally. This was justified by saying Toronto is large enough to look after its own affairs and members would know the community and issues better. It was even suggested they might go on site inspections! LAB’s set up and processes would be decided by the community. The Harris Government appointed development oriented OMB members.

It was also expressed that Community Boards as expressed in the City of Toronto amalgamation act could solve many of the sane issues. New York is a model but the suggestion for 23 boards has been made for the City.

It was expressed that without public pressure nothing happens so written submissions, attendance at the Legislative Committee and oral presentations at the Committee which will be 9am to 10.25am and 2pm to 6pm. 15 minutes are allowed for each speaker.

David Godley,
4 April 2014

As part of his text, David Godley included the following Appendix:

 

Appendix

To everyone who attended Rosario Marchese’s Action on OMB Reform Town Hall,

First of all, thank you to everyone who attended! Rosario was very happy to meet with so many people who agree that it is time to do something about the unelected and unaccountable OMB. And with the Bill 20 hearings coming up, Toronto is closer than ever to being finally freed from the OMB!

Second, as requested, here is the information about how to request to speak or send in a statement to the Standing Committee on Finance in support of Rosario’s Bill 20.

The official hearing notice can be viewed here. The hearings will take place on April 10 probably between 9:00-10:15 am and 2-6 pm. Each speaker will have about 15 minutes, including questions from the committee (if the speaker does not use up all the time). Each party will be able to select from the list of speaking requests, but even if a supporter is not able to speak, their presence at the hearings will be most welcome.

Requests to speak or statements in support should be sent as soon as possible to:

Katch Koch – Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
Rm 1405 Whitney Block
99 Wellesley St W
Toronto, ON
M7A 1A2
Email: katch_koch@ontla.ola.org

April 7, 2014 deadline for speaking requests or statements

The absolute deadline to submit speaking requests or statements is April 7.

For further updates on Bill 20, the OMB and other provincial matters, please sign up for Rosario’s e-newsletter.

And if you haven’t done so, you can also sign Rosario’s online petition in support of Bill 20.

Also, please consider ordering a lawn sign! Please call the Constituency Office at (416) 603-9664 to request one.

Thanks again,

John Bowker
Executive Assistant
Office of Rosario Marchese
MPP Trinity-Spadina
Room 116, Legislative Bldg
Toronto, ON, M7A 1A5
(416) 325-9092
www.rosariomarchese.ca

[End of text from David Godley]

 

Update

An April 10, 2014 National Post article is entitled: “Urban Scrawl: Time to scrap quasi-judicial, unelected and unaccountable Ontario Municipal Board.”

 

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The value of evidence is determined by its validity, reliability, and interpretation

I’ve been following with interest recent articles related to research about full-day kindergarten, as noted in a previous post.

An April 1, 2014 Globe and Mail article, which contributes to the discussion about what the research means and implies, is entitled: “Four questions about full-day kindergarten that matter more than test scores.”

The article concludes with the following paragraph:

  • Even so, we would be wrong to expect that full-day kindergarten will fix all problems for every child, and perhaps both experts and politicians should have been more cautious about over-selling it, especially at the beginning. A universal system offered to all families will not produce the same results as the targeted, specially-designed interventions for disadvantaged children often cited in U.S. studies. Sweden took decades to create a preschool system that earns praises around the world (hopefully, we can learn from them and go faster.) Given the size of the investment we need to ask critical questions about the program, without making hasty leaps. Ideally, ongoing research will reveal how we can make improvements, not just to the kindergarten program, but the next grades as well. For now, at least one group appears happy to reward the program an A-plus: the families actually using it.

 

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Why more medical tests and treatments aren’t always better (April 2, 2014 CBC article)

An April 2, 2014 CBC article is entitled: “Why more medical tests and treatments aren’t always better.”

The subhead reads: “Canadian Medical Association’s Choose Wisely campaign offers list of 40 tests, treatments to question.”

The opening paragraphs read:

  • Patients and doctors must face a culture change to avoid unnecessary tests and treatments that could cause harm, Canadian medical groups say.
  • In launching its Choosing Wisely campaign Wednesday, the Canadian Medical Association said it’s meant to help physicians and patients “engage in conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures,” and help them make smart choices for high-quality care.

[End of excerpt]

An April 3, 2014 CTV article is entitled: “Medical groups produce list of overused tests in ‘Choosing Wisely’ campaign.”

Evidence-based list of overuse, waste

The above-noted articles refers to an evidence-based approach to dealing with medical tests and procedures. In my view, it’s helpful to keep evidence in mind when addressing any topic.

 

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Fruit and vegetable intake: five a day may not be enough, scientists say (April 1, 2014 Guardian article)

An April 1, 2014 Guardian article is entitled: “Fruit and vegetable intake: five a day may not be enough, scientists say.”

The Guardian article is based upon research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Several articles, based on research at University College London, have appeared online.

I enjoyed coming across this research report – I heard about it when I listened to a CBC Radio news report on April 1, 2014 – especially given that it aligns with an earlier report about sugar consumption guidelines proposed by the World Health Organization.

World Health Organization (the British spelling being World Health Organisation)

An April 1, 2014 Daily Mail report regarding the research notes:

  • Fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, followed by salad and then fruit.
  • Frozen or tinned fruit increased the risk of premature death, but experts say this could reflect shortcomings in people’s overall diet including heavy reliance on processed food.
  • The study calls for the 5-a-day message based on World Health Organisation guidance to be revised upwards, and possibly exclude portions of dried and tinned fruit, smoothies and fruit juice which contain large amounts of sugar.

[End of excerpt]

University College London

A March 31, 2014 Telegraph article is entitled:

“Healthy diet means 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, not five.”

The subhead reads:

“New study published by UCL [University College London] recommends a doubling of ‘five-a-day’ diet and finds vegetables to be four times healthier than fruit.”

Ten portions, seven portions, five portions

An April 1, 2014 article at health.india.com is entitled: “7 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables for longer life.”

The article notes:

  • For a long and healthy life, eat at least seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables, suggests a study that could lead to change in dietary recommendations in some countries. Eating fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of death, overall, and deaths from heart disease/stroke and cancer.
  • ‘The higher the intake of fruit and vegetables, the greater the protective effects seemed to be,’ the study found. And vegetables may pack more of a protective punch than fruit. For the study, researchers analysed lifestyle data for more than 65,000 randomly selected adults aged at least 35, derived from annual national health surveys for England between 2001 and 2008. They tracked recorded deaths from among the sample for an average of 7.5 years.
  • On average, the survey respondents said they had eaten just under four portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day. During the monitoring period 4,399 people died (6.7 percent of the sample). The same benefits were not found in a portion of frozen/tinned fruit. The study appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

[End of text]

Epidemiological research

The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health features an Open Access article that is also of interest. This is the kind of interesting scientific paper that is occasionally translated into everyday English by science journalists writing for a layperson audience.

The article about the relation between socioeconomic status on longevity indirectly concerns itself with the larger picture of food security.

The article is entitled:

Socioeconomic inequalities in all-cause mortality in the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland and Lithuania in the 2000s: findings from the HAPIEE Study

HAPIEE – an acronym that is the outcome of an acronym-oriented approach to capitalization – refers to the Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe study.

Three indicators for measuring poverty

On a related topic, with regard to food security, an April 2, 2014 Bloomberg View article is entitled: “How much poverty should a rich nation allow?”

 

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Vaughn Tanaka of Jim Morita Inc. has relocated; he’s been looking after my car for many years

On April 1, 2014 I brought my 2001 Mazda in for its emissions test. The test was done at Precise Auto Electric, 35-37 Clarkson Ave. in Toronto, where Vaughn Tanaka of Jim Morita Inc. has set up a one bay operation. Jaan Pill photo

Vaughn Tanaka, owner of Jim Morita Inc. (phone, voicemail, or text at 416-565-8466 or jim.morita.inc[at]rogers.com) has done a first-rate job over many years in keeping my 2001 Mazda Protege, now at 208,000 km, running reliably and trouble free. He’s looked after previous cars that we’ve owned as well. We learned about his garage from neighbours on our street many years ago. To those neighbours we owe many thanks.

Vaughn Tanaka does excellent work at reasonable rates. He runs an honest and ethical business. I’m very impressed with, and inspired by, the quality of the service that he provides. I’m delighted to know, as well, that he’s now teaching the next generation.

I’m pleased to share with you the following message from Jim Morita Inc.:

Jim Morita Inc.

March 20th, 2014

Dear Customers and Friends

On April 1st, 2014 Jim Morita Inc. will be operating a one bay operation at Precise Auto Electric located at 35-37 Clarkson Ave. in Toronto near Caledonia Rd. and Castlefield Ave. area. There are a total of 4 different businesses operating under one roof, each serving their own clientele.

I found this concept to be beneficial to everyone. I will be personally working on your vehicle, purchasing parts and invoicing each vehicle to everyone’s expectations from Jim Morita Inc. I leased a hoist and not a unit to keep costs down as I may not be at the shop every day due to teaching opportunities that may surface.

If I’m at a school I will be able to accommodate your requests at the school and if not, I will be able to meet you at the shop. I can be contacted by phone, voicemail or texting at 416-565-8466 or email at jim.morita.inc [at]rogers.com

I do apologize for not being there when you needed servicing during the time I was at school. I understand many of you have found alternate places to service your vehicles and we thank you for your past patronage; those who are still looking, you may consider to give me an opportunity to service your vehicle. In either case, I personally would like to hear from all of you.

As I get older I realize material possessions are not as important to me as much as having friends, educating our next generation, making new friends and being with my family. I still have a passion to work on cars and to teach. Hopefully I will be able to continue to achieve my aspirations.

Sincerely,
Jim Morita Inc.
Vaughn Tanaka

[End of text by Vaughn Tanaka]

 

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Full-day kindergarten children score highest in vocabulary, self-regulation (Global News, March 28, 2014)

A recent research report regarding all day kindergarten has given rise to a contrast in headlines in two media overviews – in Global News and in The Globe and Mail – regarding the research.

The first headline reads: ”Full-day kindergarten children score highest in vocabulary, self-regulation.” The second one reads: ”Full-day kindergarten offers little academic advantage, study says.”

(1) News regarding full day kindergarten as reported by Global News

A March 28, 2014 Global News article is entitled: “Full-day kindergarten children score highest in vocabulary, self-regulation.”

Among other things, the article notes:

  • Jennifer Barbour, early childhood education professor at Seneca College, sees the benefits of FDK first-hand but says that the program has changed a lot since its inception.
  • “In the very beginning it was sort of a watered-down version of grade one, so a lot of pushing of the literacy and numbers, and now when I go out and see very play- and inquiry-based environments where children’s voices are heard and respected. I’m finding that it’s coming really far and I think it is really beneficial,” said Barbour.
  • The most rewarding, says Barbour, is the extra quality time teachers have with their students.
  • “I am finding that teachers don’t feel as much pressure to pressure the children in a full-day learning classroom, so it isn’t a big rush to get worksheets done,” she said. “The children are learning a lot more skills through play. They’re learning self-regulation, social skills, how to control their impulses and behaviour. I think those are the skills that are really essential for life-long learning.”

[End of excerpt]

(2) News regarding full day kindergarten as reported by The Globe and Mail

A March 28, 2014 Globe and Mail article on the same topic is entitled: “Full-day kindergarten offers little academic advantage, study says.”

Among other things, the article notes: “Full-day kindergartners did fare significantly better in their vocabulary and their ability to control their behaviour and engage in play-based tasks, important elements when it comes to child development, the study showed.”

The Globe article adds:

  • Janette Pelletier, a professor at OISE who led the new study, acknowledged that her findings, even though somewhat mixed, wouldn’t sit well with those in government who have made full-day kindergarten a signature initiative. But she added that it is naive to expect a new approach to learning to work smoothly during early implementation. Generally, she found that children who attended two years of full-day kindergarten were faring much better than their half-day peers right up until they entered Grade 1.
  • “I would say the challenge is to improve play-based programs that contribute to lasting change in things like writing and number knowledge. And we want to make sure that learning in Grades 1 and 2 builds on engaging learning in FDK,” Prof. Pelletier said.

[End of excerpt]

Angry Kids, Stressed Out Parents

I recently viewed, on CBC’s Doc Zone, a documentary entitled “Angry Kids, Stressed Out Parents.”

I was very impressed with the film, which focused on early intervention strategies that can help very young children learn to behave in socially acceptable ways.

Among other things, the video highlights the role that epigenesis plays in early childhood learning experiences – including in the course of early childhood intervention programs that teach children to regulate their own behaviour. The documentary also highlights the impressive return on investment, as expressed in dollar terms, associated with effective early childhood intervention programs.

A wide range of research suggests that individuals who have not learned to behave in socially acceptable ways in early childhood are prone, during their adolescent and adult years, to the commission of a large proportion of the crime and violence associated with their age cohort. If people in this category can learn, as a result of early childhood intervention programs, to mend their ways at an early stage of life, then we all benefit. We also reduce the costs associated with incarceration.

The research regarding full day kindergarten, as reported in the two above-noted articles, is in line with outcomes reported in the documentary.

The research cited in the full day kindergarten study, and in the documentary about early childhood learning experiences, is exciting and encouraging.

 

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RCMP charges six men accused of massive fraud that cost feds and thousands of investors millions (Financial Post, March 27, 2014)

A March 27, 2014 Financial Post article is entitled: “RCMP charges six men accused of massive fraud that cost feds and thousands of investors millions.” The article refers to a professionally presented, effectively organized fraudulent investment scheme that escaped the due diligence efforts of large numbers of people. That said, the account of the fraud also notes that “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

You can read the report at the link in the previous paragraph. I am working with Walden Design to figure out whether having the links at this website in bold will make them easier to pick out from the rest of the text than currently appears to be the case, for some readers. We seek to ensure that the links are easy to read, without at the same time breaking up the text. It’s a subtle balancing act.

As well, in the past I’ve just added updates to previous posts about scams and frauds, which I was interested to learn – from Google Analytics, which I check from time to time – is a topic of interest to many people who visit the Preserved Stories site. However, this approach to updates is unlikely to be an effective way to communicate with site visitors. For that reason, in future when I come across interesting updates to previous posts, I will tend to post them as part of new posts, instead of adding them to previous ones.

Any comments or thoughts you may wish to share about any of these topics will be of interest to me.

 

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