CKMS Community News - July 15th

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 You're listening to CKMS 100.3 Sound FM in Waterloo Region. Lisa and Robyn are with you this afternoon,  and here's the weekly news round-up for Friday, July 15.

 

Laurier custodial staff union demonstrate

This morning, CUPE 926, the union of custodial staff at Wilfrid Laurier University, undertook a demonstration as part of their strike action demanding fairness for future employees. The strike is in opposition to the contracting out of work that is currently unionised and the reduction of benefits for future union members. Workers were joined in solidarity by hundreds of supporters from the community and other union locals as they shut down the university. The union’s challenge to Laurier’s push to increase precarious, low-paid work comes amidst a wave of opposition to neoliberal policies in post-secondary institutions. A similar move to casualise custodial work at McMaster university was successfully opposed by union members and faculty.

Cycling Deaths Prompts the Call on Bicycle Training and Safety within the Waterloo Region

After a number of  cyclist related collision deaths last week,Kitchener’s cycling advisory committee, convened  to discuss the need for mandatory training within the schools in the region about bike safety and traffic laws. The previous bicycle safety programs that took place in educational institutions within the region were expunged decades ago, and now there is a concern for the preceding generations of young cyclists that have gone on without it. Even though, there is a plot to facilitate an in-school bicycle safety for Grade 5 students in the region, the  unfortunate fact is, there isn't enough  instructors for these types of programs. However, an annual report provided by the Region of Waterloo had revealed statistics that between 100 and 120 pedestrians are struck by vehicles every year at signalized intersections . And particularly, in those cases a calculated 75% of the drivers were found at fault. On the other hand, when it comes to collisions with cyclists, the figures are reversed and cyclists are found not following the proper safety regulations. In addition to that, in 2012, an Ontario coroner issued a report after the study of 129 cyclist deaths in the province, including four from our very own region. The report’s findings expressed the need for a reduction in speed limits, an  improvement in cycling infrastructure, and the need to provide better bicycle and traffic education. As a result, the law requires drivers to keep at least one metre away from cyclists was established in Ontario earlier this year. The coroner’s report also recommended that “A comprehensive public education program should be developed to promote safer sharing of the roads with all users.” So given these facts, educational programs are going to be a necessity not only within our school systems but also for the everyday motorist.
(Source)

http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6761014-cycling-death-prompts-another-call-for-bicycle-training-and-education/

UW Graduate Rejected because of His Authority Resistant Culture

A University of Waterloo graduate’s job application was rejected by a financial services firm, due to his “Somali culture of resistance to authority.” The UW graduate in question, Jama Hagi-Yusuf, was born in Canada to his Somali-born refugee parents, and is an award-winning biology, computer science and math student at the University of Waterloo and will be starting his Master’s this September. In May of last year, he applied to be an investment adviser's assistant at Integral Wealth Securities Limited, and was rejected just an hour after he applied. The rejection email read, “ I have read stories about how Somalia has a culture of resistance to authority. Such a culture would be quite different than the Canadian culture which sees cutting ahead in a lineup as a great social error...While your academic career suggests the training would be well within your competence, there is no demonstrated enthusiasm in past experience for entering this subculture..Good luck with finding a suitable position.” Upon receiving this email, Hagi-Yusuf said he felt humiliated and he stated that, “I thought about it for a year, and it still bugged me and it still affected me, and I decided to file the application to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal." The UW graduate said that he wants a written apology and changes made to the firm’s hiring practices, as well as a financial settlement. In response to this demoralizing email, Hagi-Yusuf said he seriously considered changing his name from Jama to James and Yusuf to Joseph, and even removing any traces of speaking, or working with Somali youth. Hagi-Yusuf explained that “The fact that I had to go through my resume and hide valuable work that I did with the community in Kitchener-Waterloo was frustrating.” His lawyer said that what happened to her client is “like every parent's worst fear — that discrimination can stop your job prospects." According to a National Bureau of Economic Research study, resumes with stereotypically African-American sounding names are 50% less likely to get a response from an employer than the same resumes with stereotypically white sounding names in the first place. Hahi-Yusuf’s lawyer further expressed hope that his case can serve as an empowering example to the huge Somali community in Ontario.

Summer Fun or Summer Construction?

LRT construction in Waterloo has continued to spread out from its core since this past Monday, following the three-week closure of Weber Street between Albert Street and Dutton Drive. This will also extend the city’s construction periods and ongoing night work to keep on schedule within the region.
“There’s a ton of construction happening along the route,” said Lauren McGirr, Grandlinq spokesperson. “It’s the perfect timing for it,”  McGirr continued to say. McGirr expects construction to continue not only into the summer but also through the fall months as well.

For that reason, access for local business due to this closure will be maintained from the Northfield Drive and Parkside Drive intersection to Weber and Dutton intersection. In addition to the closure, there is a wide detour from Weber to Parksider, to Bearinger Road to Albert and back to Weber. But that won't be all that is in store for the LRT construction in the region this Summer, other closures and night work within the city include:

-Lane closures and sporadic pedestrian access closures on the railway crossings at Bearinger, Columbia Street and University Avenue.

-Night work will continue until late September on Northfield Drive from Davenport Road to Parkside and on King from Conestogo Road to Northfield.

-There will be temporary closures of pedestrian crossings behind Albert Mcormick Community Centre.

-Starting July 15 and lasting there after about four weeks will be a temporary sidewalk disruption to the sidewalks of King Street at the railroad tracks.

-Starting July 12 and for about a week after, there will be night work on Courtland from Block Line to Manitou Drive

-In late July , Fredrick and Benton Street from Charles to Weber Street will be closed for upgrading underground utilities

-And also in late July there will be a closure of Wilson Avenue From Kingsway Drive To Fairway Road that will take about a month to complete.

Other construction projects have been postponed to reduce impact.
For more construction information visit rideion.ca that is www.ride I O N.ca

(Source)

http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6760885-dog-days-of-summer-mean-height-of-lrt-construction/
 

Waterloo Home to the World’s First Microscopic Microscope

A company in Waterloo, Integrated Circuit Scanning Probe Instruments, has just created the world’s first microscopic microscope. The Atomic Force Microscope is a very-high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy, and while they are traditionally bulky, Neil Sarkar, a University of Waterloo PHD graduate, has created an equally powerful microscope smaller than the ‘1’ on a one cent penny. Sarkar explained that, “The microscope connects to a one-by-one millimetre chip, which is attached to a device that is then hooked up to a computer.” In addition to this, while traditional AFM equipment usually costs over half a million dollars, the microscopic microscope will probably sell for less than $5, 000.  For those who are not familiar, AFM technology is used by researchers, which are now closing in on the tiny particles that characterize misfolding diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases, diabetes and tuberculosis.  For the moment, the company will focus on selling its new product to universities. With the dream of eventually making the product accessible to all types of students, whether in high school or university or neither. Sarkar said, "What we want to do is shatter the notion that if you want to do nanotech, you have to have a PhD and access to a million-dollar facility."

Ride Co to Step in and Provide KW to Toronto Commuters with Another Option

As of now, there are only two morning and two afternoon GO trains running on the Kitchener Waterloo/Toronto route, but the technology entrepreneur, and co-founder of Ride Co, Prem Gururajan, wants to change that. Gururajan has his own personal experience with the inconvenient methods of travel from Kitchener-Waterloo to Toronto, and back. He travels to Toronto for business meetings and like other commuters and professionals, he frequently finds himself in unpleasant situations, whether he’s dealing with the terrible traffic or the limited flexibility of the available GO Trains. That being the case, Gururajan’s start-up,  Ride Co, is another new alternative, as it will be spreading its reach outside of the KW area, later this month. Ride Co is an application which organizes rideshares between individuals with the same or similar destinations at half the price of a taxi or Uber. Even so, for some $39 to $45 per ride is too costly, but the tech entrepreneur explained that if more people start using Ride Co, the price will drop. The Ontario government has agreed to add two more morning and afternoon trains this autumn, and with time, eventually add all-day service between the two cities. For now, commuters will at least have another option on the table. However, tensions are likely to increase between public or unionized transport employees and privatized transport services, like the aforementioned Uber, and RideCo due to the possible loss of business on the public side.

Time to Get Jazzy

The 24th annual Sun Life Financial UpTown Waterloo Jazz Festival starts this Friday July 15 at 1pm and wraps up Sunday afternoon. The three day free event will take place at the Waterloo City Hall parking lot. This year’s festival has a line up of a decidedly Canadian flavour, featuring  jazz artists from across the country who have left their note on the genre. Artists performing include:

Juno-nominated Dione Taylor and the Blacksliderz, The New Orleans  traditional jazz sounds from The Heavyweights Brass Band, The Brad Cheeseman Group and The Toronto Jazz Orchestra expected to delight an estimated 35,000 people attending this weekends music festival.

The LRT construction will not hinder any of the weekend’s performances at city hall, and the rest of the uptown core will still be accessible to the public.

Patti Brooks, Executive Director of the UpTown Waterloo BIA said, “We’re hoping that people will join us at the main stage and walk around uptown , because although there is a small piece of King Street closed to vehicular traffic, we’re still open for business and walkable.”

The weekend will also include the annual youth program for music and education and outreach, encouraging local kids to find their musical muse. The program features youth jazz performances Saturday and Sunday morning.

So go out this weekend to celebrate with this free jazz music festival beginning at 1pm this afternoon

For more information about other performances this weekend you can visit www.uptownwaterloojazz.ca

(Source)
http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/whatson-story/6765180-something-to-get-jazzed-up-about/

Bettering the Region through Education Reform

This past decade the Region of Waterloo’s educational system, has seen low scores on standardized tests, with elementary students six points below Ontario’s average, and high school graduation rates in the bottom third of all of Ontario’s high schools. The problem seems to be exacerbated by the school board trustees’ inability to work together to tailor the educational system according to the needs of the students, because they are concerned with conflict between themselves.  To specify, earlier this year trustee Andrea Mitchell accused trustee Ted Martin of harassment and breaching the code of conduct. As such the Board spent $2 000 to investigate the situation, but reached no final conclusion, since the trustees voted that no violation of the code actually occurred. In the end, trustees have drafted a new plan to guide the Waterloo Region District School Board in providing quality educations for its students. The plan also has measurable outcomes, which will ensure results and hopefully accountability, as Natalie Waddell, a trustee said, "I'm quite excited about it. Every student matters, is really what the message is." Initially, the trustees unanimously endorsed the plan in June, but two trustees walked out when conflict erupted in a discussion about the Board’s dysfunction. The trustees explained that they were frustrated because they didn't want the conflict to draw attention away from the strategic education plan. With that in mind, the trustees now feel that with the progress made over the summer, the conflict does not pose a threat to the education reform plan. That being said, last month’s survey suggested even the trustees felt they worked poorly together, and that the conflicts discussed reduce their effectiveness in governing. As for the education plan, it does not yet specify the details of implementation, but does outline new priorities, that is students, staff and families, and innovation, as well as five commitments consisting of service, integrity, respect, innovation, and collaboration with teachers, students, and families. This autumn, the school board will create and present the targets and corresponding implementation plan proposal to the trustees.

KWAG celebrates its 60th on July 16

Established in 1956, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery has highlighted an array of contemporary art, over 4,000 pieces of lasting  art collections that has offered creative and artistic experiences for adults,children and families of our region. The K-W Art Gallery celebrates its 60th birthday anniversary this weekend, Saturday July 16, from noon to 5pm at 101 Queen Street North. Along with cake and candles another centerpiece for this birthday celebration comes from a London-based artist, Ron Benner, with his famed corn roast. Ron Benner will be showcasing his corn-roasting art sculpturing and invites the public to come enjoy some roasted corn . The public is also invited to participate in the open house art activities, appropriate for all ages, such as making personalized buttons, designing party hats or DIY planter workshops hosted by the Kitchener Horticultural Society and Kitchener Master Gardeners along with neighbourhood garden tours and historical tours. Over the decades the KWAG has connected people and ideas through art while drawing the community together. So don’t miss out on the celebration because the event is free to the public at the gallery is located within the Centre in the Square. For additional info, visit www.kwag.ca

(Source)

http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/whatson-story/6765324-kwag-celebrates-its-60th-on-july-16/

A Waterloo Company Transforms Underwater Archeology

Technicians from a Waterloo based company, 2G Robotics along with a team of underwater archeologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration( the NOAA) set out to explore 3 of the 92 known shipwrecks in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary with innovative equipment that could possibly revolutionize underwater archeology. The new underwater laser scanner, the ULS-500 PRO can generate true to scale 3D models of shipwrecks, with a resolution down to the millimeter. This equipment allows for more detailed documentation of complex underwater environments, which traditional photographic or sonar mapping just couldn't  match. The partnership has been mutually beneficial for the NOAA and 2G Robotics, the waterloo based company that was founded in 2007 by U of W graduate, Jason Gilham.The local business’s largest clients are mainly gas and oil companies who use the technology to scan companies’ underwater infrastructures.The foray into underwater archaeology is new for the company but this unprecedented technology could change past  underwater archaeology techniques . This excursion to the depths of the Thunday Marine Sanctuary was just a field test for the company’s laser scanner and the team documented three wrecks:
 

-The Monohansett

-The Ogarita

-And the Haltiner barge

The only catch to this groundbreaking technology is that the surveying must be done at night or in deep, dark water because it uses a camera to capture the way the laser beam moves along whatever that is being scanned, so if there is too much light surrounding the water, the camera is unable to detect the laser. Despite advances from the Waterloo based company, 2G Robotics, John Bright, an underwater archeologist, isn't too concerned about being out of a job just yet. While the laser can detect with incredible accuracy , it is still unable to decipher what is being seen. “You still need a trained eye for that interpretation,” said Bright. “There’s never really a substitute for the human eye.”

(Source)

http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/news-story/6745330-into-the-deep/

 

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