Weekly News Roundup--July 8

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Trading the Public Sector for the Private

The former Mayor of Waterloo, Brenda Halloran, who served from 2006 to 2014, is the new Chair of the Board for Startup Canada. Startup Canada is a national organization, founded in 2012, and is  dedicated to spreading the entrepreneurial spirit using online platforms, cross-sector initiatives, and by creating grassroots startup communities. As Chair, Halloran will be taking up a lobbying role, whereby she’ll connect startups with mentors, financial resources, and even potential customers, while promoting the organization's interests to government officials. Halloran explained that her job, in particular is about, “ ...opening doors to government and industry, “ and said that Startup Canada, “...is a very young organization, and what they've accomplished in a short amount of time is incredible. Nothing is going to slow them down because they believe in the importance of entrepreneurs." The former Mayor met the co-founder of Startup Canada, Victoria Lennox at panel four years ago, and when the organization needed a new Chair, Lennox offered Halloran the position. While, Halloran said she missed serving in public office, she expressed enthusiasm in acting as Startup Canada’s Chair, and helping Canada’s entrepreneurs acquire the resources they need and achieve success. 

 

GVI Death

At the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, a 30 year old inmate, Terry Barker, was found unresponsive in her cell this past Monday night. A statement made by Corrections Canada has stated that once Barker was found by staff members, CPR was immediately performed and emergency response services were contacted.However, Kim Pate, a regional advocate with the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, an association of self-governing, community based societies in Canada that work with and for women and young girls alike that are caught up in the judicial system, told CBC earlier this week:
"We don't have a lot of information; the fact that she was in segregation is of significant concern,"
Pate went on the further say that she had expressed her concerns about Barker’s mental health and that weeks prior to the Monday night incident Barker was placed on a suicide watch. Regardless of Baker' s status, GVI was holding the woman in segregation because of previous allegations of threats to staff.  Baker was found Monday night "with apparently a ligature around her neck."  Pate said.
Furthermore, there is  reason to believe that there were uses of force but to the extent of it is still uncertain. Pate was informed of the use of restraints on Barker during her time in segregation ,and until then Correctional Investigators are looking into the matter.
 Kim Pate goes on to add: "From our perspective, underscores exactly why we have the position of no women in segregation, particularly those with mental health issues." After guards discovered Barker, she was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener late Monday.  She succumbed to her injuries Wednesday at 12;06pm. Barker has been said to have asked to have her organs donated if she had ever passed and there is reason to believe she was kept on life support so that her organs could be harvested.

If you know of any women suffering with mental health issues and is caught up in the judicial systems and needs additional support and guidance, please contact the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies toll free at 1-800-637-4606 or admin@caefs.ca for more information on how you can help.
 

Former Motivational Speaker Investigated for Fraud

 

Waterloo’s former motivational speaker Michelle Dunk has been charged quasi-criminally with fraud, unregistered trading, illegal distribution and breaching an Ontario Securities Commission cease trade order. The Securities Commission is currently investigating whether Dunk was, “involved in the sale and distribution of Rocky Point Energy securities to Ontario investors.” though she has, “ never been registered with the Commission under the Securities Act.” Any investors who were solicited or who invested in Rocky Point Energy securities are asked to contact the commission by visiting Ontario Securities Commission website ‘Contact Us’ webpage. Dunk's ongoing legal troubles come after years of community engagement, once being featured as a part of the Inspiring Women event in Kitchener. Dunk won the Citizen of the Year Award in 1995, and she claims she was, “sought after by President Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Suzanne Somers and Dr. Oz,”  The Crown prosecutor Lia Di Giulio said, “The sole motivation for this offence is Ms. Dunk's personal financial gain.” Dunk is scheduled for a court date of July 12 to address the newest charges against her.

 

Laurier’s Custodial Union Battling Against "Draconian Tactics"

In other news, Wilfrid Laurier University officials are undergoing mediated talks with CUPE 926, the union representing the school’s custodial staff, since the university announced its intentions to replace open custodial positions with third party non-union contract workers. Laurier has already applied for a no board report, which is essential because without it, no union can strike, and no employer can legally lock out a union. Laurier officials claim that the motivation behind this decision has to do with finances. Laurier's vice-president of finance and administration, Jim Butler says the university stands to save around $300, 000 every year if it adopts the contract custodians proposal. Butler claims that it is a necessary effort to cut costs at the university. The university has been working on these cuts despite surging admission numbers and tuition rates.  Union officials claim that these cuts are a, “direct threat to job security, setting the stage for the loss of loyal, dedicated university employees.” Kitchener-Waterloo MPP, Catherine Fife recognized that universities contracting work out is part of a new trend, and that, "It would be very unfortunate for our community to lose those good jobs," she said. Contracted jobs "do not pay as much, they do not have job security, and they are more precarious in nature." Ahead of another rounds of mediated talks today, a large demonstration picket occurred at WLU from 7-10am with dozens of supporters coming in from across the region and as far away as Toronto and London.

 

Region’s Health Care Facilities Excel on a Provincial Level

Over the past few years, Grand River Hospital has excelled in providing access to specialized acute care, shorter waits for rehabilitation, appropriate lengths of stay and quicker improvement in functional ability. But, as of now, Grand River Hospital has also become a provincial leader in terms of the quality of its stroke care program. The improvement in stroke care was undertaken last year as a part of coordinated effort with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. The Region’s medical facilities showed a commendable performance in public awareness of stroke, prevention, acute stroke management, rehabilitation and reintegration, over this last year. As a matter of fact, according to the Ontario Stroke Network and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the Region went from a ‘poor performance’ rating to ‘exemplary performance’ in only a few years. In 2013 the health network's board decided to integrate stroke services, and with this specialized central care unit, the Region can now treat a greater volume of patients, while providing high quality care to each patient. Andrea Guth, the program director of the Waterloo Wellington Integrated Stroke Program said the goal is to continue to excel while improving the remaining areas of care.

 

Laurier to Open Doors to Non-Traditional Students

Thanks to a $400, 000 grant from the Lyle Hallman Foundation of Waterloo Region, new Canadians, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and older unemployed workers, will have the opportunity to go to Wilfrid Laurier University, as of this autumn. The point of the program is to accommodate non-traditional students’ needs, so that they may pursue a university degree, regardless of their situation. The Ontario government provides some support to nontraditional or mature students through financial grants or assistance, but requires that the students access the postsecondary educational system themselves. By contrast, this program opens doors to postsecondary education for nontraditional students. Associate professor at the university, Bob Sharpe explained that, “they've been marginalized in some respect because they don't have the income, their first language is not English, they're recent refugees or they just never came from families who encouraged their kids to go to University.”  The specialized program takes two years, and beings with one preparatory semester, followed by another semester of part-time studies. After students complete two introductory courses during their first year, they may enroll in three more courses. When students graduate they may continue their studies at Laurier University or other postsecondary institutions, and potentially earn a Bachelor's. Any interested individuals are encouraged to contact Laurier’s Working Centre.

 

Kitchener’s Queen and Charles streets to re-open Thursday

After many long months of closure due to the LRT construction,  one of the city's main intersections in the heart of downtown Kitchener re-opened this past Thursday. "It will be late in the evening that it reopens," Lauren McGirr , a spokesperson for Grandlinq, commented "And that's just in time for 'cruise' which is on July 8."

Cruising on King is the city’s annual two day event that includes a classic car show as well as a parade down King Street, taking place this Friday.

McGirr went on to further explain that the intersection was closed for an extended period of time to make sure that all the track, water and sewer infrastructure upgrades at the Queen and Charles intersection had been completed at the same time. The original proposal for the closure was to was to re-open it and close it again to later continue work on the site.

The next major closure to an intersection to take place in downtown Kitchener will be in early August, where Frederick from south of King Street to Duke Street will be closed. It is uncertain  how long this closure will take place.
 

16-year-old cyclist hit by SUV dies of injuries

It was just after 7 am on Wednesday morning that a 16 year old girl was struck by a SUV while crossing at Laurelwood Drive and Wild Ginger Avenue.

The young cyclist is alleged to have not made a full stop at the stop sign on Laurelwood Drive and biked directly into the oncoming SUV.

The identity of the young girl is unknown and was taken to hospital with arm, leg and other head injuries. The young victim was later airlifted to a hospital in Hamilton where she later succumbed to her injuries .

In a statistical analysis of collisions for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo has revealed a total of 6462 reported traffic collisions that had occurred throughout the year of 2014. 107 of those collisions involved cyclists with a  63% chance of its occurrence within the city's intersections.

Please cyclists, be safe out there, keep your bike tuned, and follow the rules of the road, and a reminder for cars and trucks to also follow the rules, to slow down and drive defensively. Together we can prevent unfortunate accidents such as this from happening again this summer.

 

2 arrested in alleged human trafficking of Kitchener teen

A sex trafficking investigation has lead to the arrests of a 24 year old Toronto citizen, Jordan Innis, and an 18-year-old Cambridge resident, Daniel Schuelter, this week.

According to Ryan Flanagan from CTV Kitchener, both men are charged with forcible confinement, trafficking in underage persons, making and possessing child pornography, sexual interference, advertising another person’s sexual services, receiving a material benefit from the sexual services of an underage person, and other offences.

The 14-year-old Kitchener girl was allegedly ordered to have sex with strangers at a Toronto hotel on multiple occasions, turning over any money from the strangers to the two men. It was only after the young girl had alerted friends about being held against her will that police began to investigate further.

Police  are also concerned that there may be other victims, and want to hear from anyone with information about the case. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Waterloo Regional Police Service at 519-653-7700 ext. 8666 or leave an anonymous tip at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Workshop on Transmisogyny

On Tuesday July 12,  Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG) will be hosting "Transmisogyny and gender based violence within organizing".  The workshop takes place at 7pm at Wilfrid Laurier University, Arts Building, Room 1C17. The workshop aims to discuss challenging systems of violence and to create intersectional approaches. Details on their Facebook page include that this workshop seeks to talk about the complicated, messy and confusing ways these challenges occur, how to build stronger social justice movements internally, and ultimately how to do better work so we can be more accountable to the integrity these circles seek to uphold.

If you have any questions or would like to register to the event e-mail Hannah at LSPIRG: hannah@lspirg.org

Check LSPIRG's facebook page for more details on the event https://www.facebook.com/events/272031356494846/

 

 

WPIRG Coffeehouse: Sports and politics

WPIRG, a non profit organization dedicated to social and environmental justice, which consists of UW students and other community members, held a coffeehouse this Thursday. The coffeehouse discussion used sports as an arena for political debate. The coffeehouse was held at the Peter Russell Rock garden and offered tea, coffee and snack to those who attended. Those interested in participating can drop by the next coffeehouse on Thursday July 21. Visit WPIRG's Facebook or website for more details on their next event.

 

Events this weekend: Kultrun

The Kultrun Musical Festival is held being held this weekend in Victoria Park. Not only is the event free but it is dubbed the Region’s "biggest outdoor dance party." The Kultrun event is celebrating diversity, featuring local musicians and other musical talents from around the world. The festival provides interactive activities and workshops for all ages. This year's performance lineup includes:

Trad-folk Québécois bands, Moroccan gospel, flamenco, Afro, Latin jazz, Brazilian forró and other musical magic from across the globe.
 
So this weekend come and experience “The Heartbeat of World Music” at the Kultrun festival taking place July 9-10 in Downtown Kitchener’s Victoria Park. The Festival runs Saturday from 12noon - 11pm and Sunday from 12noon - 9pm.

http://www.kultrun.ca/

 

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