Blog Posts by Jordana Divon

  • Passenger ferry route between Cleveland and Ontario likely

    In this March 27, 2009 file photo, the Marine Atlantic ferry MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood heads through ice as it departs North Sydney, N.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew VaughanOntarians with a hankering for Salisbury steak may soon find it easier than ever to satisfy their craving.

    Officials from Cleveland and nearby Port Stanley, Ont. are discussing a passenger ferry that would carry tourists and a select number of trucks across the Lake Erie divide as early as next year.

    As Ohio's Plain Dealer reports, the two-year pilot project would focus on transporting people and cars in a bid to increase tourism in both areas.

    "Port Stanley told us right off the bat they don't want a lot of trucks," William Friedman, president of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority told the paper. "They see their future as more tourism, less industrial type of activities."

    The ferry idea has reportedly been circulating for years, despite the Rochester-Toronto route failure in 2004.

    Although the privately operated boat boasted room for 774 passengers at $30 a pop, unstable ridership led to a $2 million loss and permanently docked the service after 80 days.

    A subsequent attempt by the

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  • Police put brakes on Kelowna party bus for alcohol violation

    It's advertised as a party on wheels — a 1970's school bus converted into a mobile nightclub, where the seats have been replaced by benches and a bright pink stripper pole adorns the interior.

    But an alcohol violation has forced owner Jamal Jacob to tow his Embassy World Entertainment Bus back to the garage.

    As the CBC reports, Kelowna police busted up the party on Saturday after they found that customers had brought large amounts of liquor on board.

    "Dancing on a bus is ill advised, but open alcohol in any motor vehicle is illegal," Cst. Kris Clark with Kelowna RCMP told the news network.

    Police slapped Jacob with an open liquor ticket and shipped the partygoers back home.

    The incident didn't sit well with Trudi Schneider, who told the CHBC Okanagan News her 15-year-old son was left to fend for himself on the curb after getting drunk on the party bus two weeks ago. She said Jacob left her son, clad only in a t-shirt and jeans - on the side of the road after he had too much to drink

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  • Edmonton public transit riders first to test counterterrorism technology

    Edmonton public transit riders will be the first in North America to test out a new counterterrorism technology that uses a ticket-validation machine to scan passengers for explosives.

    As chronicled in the Edmonton Journal, Churchill light rail station will be outfitted this spring with radiological and explosives detection sensors designed to "sniff out" potential terrorist threats.

    The technology works by reading colour changes on each ticket's molecularly-imprinted polymer coatings whenever the sensors pick up the presence of a "dangerous substance."

    "Basically a passenger puts a ticket in a validator, the technology quickly scans the ticket for explosive materials, then returns the ticket to the passenger," said Walt Bonneau Jr., president and general manager of Cubic Security Systems, the San Diego-based company involved in creating the technology.

    "At the same time another detector in the vendor is on the lookout for radioactive materials being carried on the passenger's person.

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  • Milo, the famous Vancouver sea otter, takes his final bow

    Milo, the Vancouver Aquarium sea otter that captured millions of hits and hearts on YouTube, has gone to the big ocean in the sky after losing his battle with lymphoma.

    As the CBC notes, the 12-year-old marine mammal became an internet sensation after a visitor to the aquarium posted a video of Milo holding hands (well, webbed paws) with a female sea otter as they leisurely floated on their backs in the water.

    Since the video was uploaded in 2007, it has gone on to attract nearly 17 million views.

    Milo continued to draw in the crowds until aquarium staff noticed last summer that he appeared more lethargic than usual. Shortly afterward, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the immune system, and began chemotherapy to battle the disease.

    "He was the very first live sea otter diagnosed with lymphoma. He was also the very first sea otter that I'm aware of that had chemotherapy," said aquarium veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena in a CBC interview, adding that a team of

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  • Renting driveway space popular with homeowners, but not with bylaw enforcers

    Sometimes making a bit of extra cash actually is as easy as stepping out your front door.

    A website launching in Toronto this week seeks to connect homeowners with people who are willing to pay for the convenience of parking in their driveways.

    ParkatmyHouse.com will allow would-be renters to find available driveways or lots near their home, office, or even an occasional sporting event. In a few quick clicks, they can search a list of prime spots for short-term or long-term parking.

    As the Toronto Star reports, the idea comes from 28-year-old Anthony Eskinazi, a native of London, England, where the concept quickly garnered attention.

    "It's quite a revolutionary approach to parking," he said.

    Homeowners have signed up in droves to post their driveways. Businesses advertise open spots available during non-peak hours and a London church has even gotten on board, renting out its parking lot to the tune of a $180,000 profit.

    This week, the site makes its debut across a number of North

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  • Ontario maples at risk, says environmental watchdog

    A bucket is held under a maple tree tap at Shirley Fulton-Deugo's sugar bush in Pakenham, Ont.Ontario may need to start importing its syrup if it doesn't step up to save its maple trees, the province's environmental watchdog warned yesterday.

    As the Canadian Press reports, environmental commissioner Gord Miller said the provincial government needs to generate a new plan to deal with the serious threats facing its biodiversity — or risk the loss of many native species.

    "We could lose sugar maple trees from southern Ontario," Miller said, after the agency's latest report was released. "We could lose black spruce in northern Ontario. We already have a major crisis in our fisheries in the Great Lakes. These are real — real problems.

    Miller did not mince words when he called out the Liberals for failing to produce an updated plan to its 2005 biodiversity strategy.

    "Threats to biodiversity have already taken their toll on the province and the problems it faces are troubling," he said.

    The government can't avoid its obligation to respond to an urgent crisis. But the province is "ill

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  • Facebook breastfeeding photo ban stirs impassioned debate

    Mothers, calling themselves "lactivists", feed their babies during a breastfeeding flashmob in Brighton town centre southern England December 15, 2011. About 50 mothers took part in the protest after a Brighton mother was vilified for openly breastfeeding in a local restaurant by other diners. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY POLITICS)New mothers are demanding the right to bare breasts on Facebook — provided there's a baby attached to the end of one.

    As the Vancouver Sun reports, breastfeeding activists want the social media site make an exception on its strict no-nudity policy to allow for photos of mothers feeding their babies.

    Vancouver mother of two, Emma Kwasnica, has gone public with her frustration after claiming that Facebook has removed more than 20 photos in which she can be seen breastfeeding her daughters.

    On Saturday, she received a written warning stating that an image showing Kwasnica breastfeeding her daughter, Chloe, had been deleted because it was considered "sexually explicit."

    Later that day, the site removed another photo, this one a two-year-old snapshot of Kwasnica feeding her now four-year-old daughter, Sophie. Her Facebook account was also suspended for three days.

    "Facebook should just leave breastfeeding photos alone. (Breastfeeding is) not pornographic. It's not obscene. It's a normal

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  • Alberta residents on alert for bizarre winter wildfires

    Alberta officials have issued a forest fire alert… for January.

    Wacky weather has put the province on guard for wildfire blazes, a scenario that locals are far more accustomed to dealing with in July.

    "Normally, we see a lot more snow and a lot less wind," wildfire information officer Geoffrey Driscoll told the Edmonton Journal. "I'm really not used to talking about wildfires in January."

    While flammable conditions are not unheard of around Christmas, Driscoll told the paper a large perimeter of dry grass, coupled with high winds, has resulted in a riskier combination than usual.

    "If a fire does start, the fire can move very quickly," he said, adding that hearty winter campers needed to be aware, even now, about campfire safety.

    That includes building fires away from overhanging branches, logs, and rotten stumps, never leaving your campfire unattended, and making sure the fire has been completely doused with water before leaving the area.

    Driscoll pointed out that wildfires are caused

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  • Autism registry helps police defuse potentially violent situations

    Last July, Toronto police came under fire for slapping handcuffs on a nine-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome who had become aggressive in class.

    The child had reportedly spun out of control, barricading himself with tables and chairs and throwing paint all over the room. When police arrived on the scene, they told the boy to lie down on the ground and cuffed him for five minutes until the mobile crisis intervention team showed up.

    The move was sharply criticized by Dr. Glenn Rampton, CEO of Kerry's Place Autism Services, who expressed his concern to QMI Agency at the time.

    "That wouldn't be appropriate for any child," he said. "I can't imagine anyone would think that would be an appropriate way to deal with a nine-year-old kid."

    While a police spokesman defended their actions that day, saying safety was their number one concern, a handful of law enforcement officials have taken preliminary steps toward learning how to best deal with autistic people in precarious situations.

    In

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  • Warm weather jeopardizes Manitoba ice roads

    For many Canadian cities, winter has yet to rear it's frosty head. Unseasonably warm temperatures across the country have left residents scratching their toques, wondering when the barometer is planning to dip below zero — and stay there for a while.

    And while many Canadians might enjoy a frostbite reprieve, there's at least one region that's hoping things cool down — and fast.

    As the CBC reports, the warm weather in northern Manitoba has delayed construction on ice roads, a series of seasonal roadways that allow residents to travel over frozen bodies of water and land in the winter.

    Locals living in remote locations rely on these roads to get their supplies and groceries directly from the south, instead of paying extra when those same goods have to be shipped in.

    "Winter roads are a necessity with the high costs of living up north, and we all depend on the winter roads," Irma Harper of St. Theresa Point, Man. Told a CBC reporter on Saturday.

    But with higher than average temperatures

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