Category Archives: Newsroom

Posts from the CKMS news program and associated news sites.

David Keith on climate change mitigation and the chemtrail conspiracy

Download Audio::

tags:

An interview with David Keith, an award winning professor of Applied physics at Harvard University where he is leading an interdisciplinary research team who is researching global-scale geoengineering strategies to mitigate climate change, primarily stratospheric albedo modification. Keith is also a Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School.

We start with discussing Keith’s research, which aims to reduce global temperatures through increasing the albedo of the stratosphere — reflecting more solar radiation back into space. Along with the risks and benefits his team is investigating, Keith also points out that none of this research has left the lab setting.

In the second part of the show, we talk about the so-called “chemtrails” conspiracy theory which includes Keith’s research being a part of a super secretive global scale program of some sort or another, and has led in real life to threats, vitriol, and slander being directed at the scientist.

For more on the absurdity of the chemtrails conspiracy see: How to Debunk Chemtrails and Chemtrails Conspiracy Theory.

This interview was first broadcast November 4 on AW@L radio. Tune in weekly on Fridays at 4:00 pm EST on http://soundfm.ca/listen

editor:

presenter:

From:: Grand River Community News

Hundreds of students left in limbo as the K2 towers near Wilfrid Laurier University remain incomplete.

Another building delay has students scrambling for stable housing as mid-term exams begin.

by: dan kellar (@dankellar)

Waterloo–After a digital tour of the condo in early June 2016, and a conversation over the phone with an Atlas Properties Group leasing agent, Sarah and David* signed a lease for a two-bedroom suite in the 21-storey K2 condo tower on King St near Wilfrid Laurier University, the larger of a two tower development at the site. David said the two international students then paid a three-month deposit “for our final three months in the unit”, totalling nearly $5,000.

The occupancy date on the lease was September 3rd, and the two students asked the Atlas leasing agent, allegedly a University of Waterloo student herself, if they could move in early as they were coming from out of town. The pair say the agent agreed and Sarah and David planned to come to Waterloo on August 20th.

However, in early August, the building’s developers UID Development sent renters an email telling them that, due to a “Construction Worker Union strike”, units at the larger of the towers at 158 King St N would not be ready for the beginning of September. No firm date was given in the email. David and Sarah were shocked to learn that the suite they had rented was actually in a building still under construction. “The Atlas leasing agent never told us this was a new building”, Sarah explained, continuing “when we signed the lease in June, the agent never mentioned that it may not be ready for September.”

On receiving the notice of delay, David says he re-read his lease and noticed a paragraph that was sloppily inserted into the lease between two other conditions:

“If the Landlord and/or Authorized Representative is unable to give possession of the Rented Premises on the commencement of the term for any reason, including, but not limited to construction delays or an over holding tenant, the Landlord and/or Authorized Representative shall not be to liable to the Tenant and shall give possession as soon as the Landlord and/or Authorized Representative is able to do so. The Rent shall be abated until possession of the Rented Premises is offered by the Landlord to the Tenant. Failure to give possession at the date of commencement of the term shall not in any way affect the validity of this Tenancy Agreement. This Tenancy Agreement shall be enforceable against the Tenant named herein, regardless of whether such Tenant actually occupies the Rented Premises.”

Translated to non-legal, the clause states that the landlord is not responsible for any delays in the unit being available, and that if there is a delay, it would not be a sufficient reason to release the renters from the lease. With Sarah and David signing their lease in June, Atlas and UID may have already known that a September move-in was out of the question, yet David says the leasing agent never mentioned the building was yet to be completed.

screenshot from: http://www.atlasproperty.com/property/k2/

In lieu of completed apartments, UID gave renters the option of moving into one of two hotels, to move into a bedroom in shared student housing, or to delay the start of the lease until the units were ready. The hotels on offer were a Howard Johnson in southern Kitchener and a Travelodge in Cambridge with shuttle buses transporting students to and from campus. The shared housing units, as David and Sarah discovered on touring one, included a “not nice” room in an old home, nothing like the clean apartments still on view on the Atlas website. UID also informed the renters that they would have to pay $600 a month for a room in the shared housing with a $250 key deposit. Hotels would also come with a cost, though the exact details were not clear. If a renter chose to delay the lease start date, they would be credited $100 a month towards their first month’s rent.

With the September semester approaching at school, and their unit still incomplete, Sarah and David still had to find a new place to live. The pair arrived in Waterloo and rented a hotel room while they tried to deal with UID and Atlas on their housing situation.

Now with mid-term exams underway, David and Sarah say they are not interested in waiting for their unit to be completed, they just want their $5,000 deposit returned as they have already found alternate accommodation outside of UID’s lacklustre offerings. To this point, UID has refused to refund the money, directing David to the clause in the lease about construction delays. Atlas Properties Group meanwhile, is trying to avoid accountability in the situation, telling David to “deal with UID”. In response to the stonewalling, Sarah says she and David went to the landlord and tenant board with the issue and now have a hearing scheduled in late November.

As the landlord and tenant board hearing was set, UID sent an update to renters, informing them they would be able to move in mid-November, but with the building still missing its outer skin, and little completed work on the inside of the units, David says he is skeptical that date is realistic. David added that even if the outside was complete, the situation for those living in the 11-storey K2 building next door has given him further reason not to trust what UID is telling him and hundreds of other impacted students and other renters.

According to David, in the smaller K2 building that has been occupied since September, the building’s interior is not yet complete, with “bedrooms” being set up in common areas of apartment units, separated by half-height paper room dividers. “Only one of these bedrooms has actual walls and a door; the other three, these are not bedrooms,” asserted Sarah, adding that “there is no privacy”. The picture our news department obtained seems to verify these claims.

With many of the impacted renters being international students, paying up to 500% more for school than non-international students, David says there has been little organising among the tenants to work collaboratively for solutions. Sarah explained that many of the students simply took what was offered as they need to focus on their studies, and did not have the energy to confront UID.

While the Universities have not kept track of the number of students impacted by insecure, inadequate, or non-existent housing, high profile cases have certainly impacted thousands in just the past two years. In 2015, students successfully challenged Schembri property management at the landlord and tenant board when the units and the building they signed leases for were not completed on time. Already this fall, delays in the ICON development left more than a thousand students scrambling to find alternate solutions as they started classes.

At the K2 towers, there is a frenzy of construction activity as crews continue to work on the outer walls of the upper-half of the building, but for Sarah and David, the efforts are much too late. As the two prepare for the landlord and tenant board hearings to demand a return of their deposits, and to be released from their unfulfilled lease, they must also prepare for their mid-term exams and keep up with all their other school work.

*names changed to protect identity


a screen shot from: http://www.atlasproperty.com/property/k2/

From:: Grand River Community News

Release: Chippewas of the Thames Raising Funds To Assert Their Treaty Rights At Supreme Court of Canada

Chippewas Of The Thames–In less than two months, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation will appear in the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) to assert their right to consultation and argue that the Canadian government failed in this regard for the heavily contested Enbridge Line 9 pipeline. This challenge comes amidst a wave of resistance to pipelines and a heightened profile for issues of consultation with Indigenous communities. But the path to court is made difficult beyond the legal argument as COTTFN has to finance the legal defence of their rights against treaty violation, which they anticipate will reach half a million dollars. $50,000 has been raised so far, and for the remainder, COTTFN’s fundraising and awareness campaign is intensifying with a new video and website highlighting issues of the case and foregrounding voices from the community.

COTTFN is challenging the Canadian government’s approach to consultation, arguing that based on treaty and Canadian law, the federal government is directly responsible for consulting Indigenous communities on projects that will affect them, and the National Energy Board (NEB) is not a substitute. Clyde River Inuit is simultaneously challenging the lack of consultation in the NEB process which approved seismic blasting exploration in the waters surrounding their community. The recent successful challenge to the Northern Gateway pipeline addressed similar issues, with the ultimate ruling affirming the Canadian government’s legal duty to consult. COTTFN’s case will argue specifically that the NEB cannot substitute for the government in consultation.

Throughout the Line 9 planning process, COTTFN made it clear that they wanted their voice heard. They took part in the NEB hearings for the pipeline, articulating their concerns to the review panel, while insisting that this process was not a substitute for consultation. As band councillor Myeengun Henry explains in the new video, these issues can be traced back to the pipeline’s origins: “Forty years ago our people were still in residential school. When there was a process that brought this pipeline through our traditional territory, we were never consulted at all. So they just built this pipeline without any acknowledgement of the First Nations in the area.”

COTTFN filed their initial legal appeal on April 8, 2014, well before the line was operational, yet in the delay preceding this hearing in the SCC, Enbridge has been operating the pipeline and profiting immensely from the flow of oil, including tar sands and fracked oil, through it.

These oil products are of grave concern not only to COTTFN, but to communities across the continent in the path of pipelines and oil trains. As we experience the hottest year on record, pipeline projects are being met with increasing opposition, including the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Energy East. Councillor Henry concludes, “We know of the damaging impacts of the tar sands, fracking, and other extractive industries have on our earth yet these developments continue with government protection. This is why COTTFN is developing a protocol to engage with proposed plans that would affect our territory. We believe that​ protecting the water and land, requiring sustainable development, adapting to climate change, and ensuring a safe home for future generations must be central to this protocol.”

COTTFN is inviting donations from individuals and groups and encourages people to visit chippewassolidarity.org for more information about the case and to watch and share the video, “Defending Deshkaan Ziibi: Challenging the Line 9 Pipeline.”

From:: Grand River Community News

Chippewas of the Thames Raising Funds To Assert Their Treaty Rights At Supreme Court of Canada

Chippewas Of The Thames–In less than two months, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation will appear in the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) to assert their right to consultation and argue that the Canadian government failed in this regard for the heavily contested Enbridge Line 9 pipeline. This challenge comes amidst a wave of resistance to pipelines and a heightened profile for issues of consultation with Indigenous communities. But the path to court is made difficult beyond the legal argument as COTTFN has to finance the legal defence of their rights against treaty violation, which they anticipate will reach half a million dollars. $50,000 has been raised so far, and for the remainder, COTTFN’s fundraising and awareness campaign is intensifying with a new video and website highlighting issues of the case and foregrounding voices from the community.

COTTFN is challenging the Canadian government’s approach to consultation, arguing that based on treaty and Canadian law, the federal government is directly responsible for consulting Indigenous communities on projects that will affect them, and the National Energy Board (NEB) is not a substitute. Clyde River Inuit is simultaneously challenging the lack of consultation in the NEB process which approved seismic blasting exploration in the waters surrounding their community. The recent successful challenge to the Northern Gateway pipeline addressed similar issues, with the ultimate ruling affirming the Canadian government’s legal duty to consult. COTTFN’s case will argue specifically that the NEB cannot substitute for the government in consultation.

Throughout the Line 9 planning process, COTTFN made it clear that they wanted their voice heard. They took part in the NEB hearings for the pipeline, articulating their concerns to the review panel, while insisting that this process was not a substitute for consultation. As band councillor Myeengun Henry explains in the new video, these issues can be traced back to the pipeline’s origins: “Forty years ago our people were still in residential school. When there was a process that brought this pipeline through our traditional territory, we were never consulted at all. So they just built this pipeline without any acknowledgement of the First Nations in the area.”

COTTFN filed their initial legal appeal on April 8, 2014, well before the line was operational, yet in the delay preceding this hearing in the SCC, Enbridge has been operating the pipeline and profiting immensely from the flow of oil, including tar sands and fracked oil, through it.

These oil products are of grave concern not only to COTTFN, but to communities across the continent in the path of pipelines and oil trains. As we experience the hottest year on record, pipeline projects are being met with increasing opposition, including the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Energy East. Councillor Henry concludes, “We know of the damaging impacts of the tar sands, fracking, and other extractive industries have on our earth yet these developments continue with government protection. This is why COTTFN is developing a protocol to engage with proposed plans that would affect our territory. We believe that​ protecting the water and land, requiring sustainable development, adapting to climate change, and ensuring a safe home for future generations must be central to this protocol.”

COTTFN is inviting donations from individuals and groups and encourages people to visit chippewassolidarity.org for more information about the case and to watch and share the video, “Defending Deshkaan Ziibi: Challenging the Line 9 Pipeline.”

For more infomation and interviews contact: support@chippewassolidarity.org
-30-

From:: Grand River Community News

CKMS’s Annual Friends of SoundFM Funding Drive – Sept 22nd-Oct 6th

friendsofsoundfm_social_donate2016_fb

From September 22nd to October 6th CKMS will be hosting our annual friends of SoundFM funding drive, and today I’m asking you to support Waterloo Region’s community and campus radio station as we head into our 40th year.

If you have the means please visit soundfm.ca/donate to find out how you can financially support the station, and become a member of the CKMS radio community.

Thank you for continuing to tune in to and supporting 100.3 SoundFM!

#RadioWaterloo
#KWAwesome





Programs and Barriers: Welcoming Refugees to Waterloo Region

tags:

In August 2016, CKMS News intern Lisa Irimescu created this 30 minute podcast on welcoming refugees to Waterloo Region, and the programs and barriers which impact the process.

The podcast includes interviews with a Syrian refugee, a private refugee sponsor, and two support organisations.

To download a copy of this program, and to listen to other work from CKMS News, visit the Grand River Media Collective and CKMS News

editor:

presenter:

From:: Grand River Community News

Discussing the “Promoting Affordable Housing Act” with MPP Catherine Fife

tags:

“We see housing as underpinning the entire health of a community”- Catherine Fife

In mid-August, the CKMS newsroom caught up with Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife to critically discuss new legislation passed in the Ontario legislature — the Promoting Affordable Housing Act. The discussion deals with implementing the act in Waterloo Region with funding and zoning options available to municipal governments including promotion of inclusionary zoning, and ending appeals to the OMB, as well as some of weaknesses in the legislations around gentrification and renters rights.

This Interview was originally aired on August 19th on CKMS Community News, a program of the CKMS newsroom at 100.3fm, SoundFM.ca in Waterloo Region. It was undertaken by Rachel Avery.

editor:

presenter:

From:: Grand River Community News

CKMS Community News – July 29th

tags:

You’re listening to CKMS 100.3 Sound FM in Waterloo Region. Robyn is with you this afternoon, and here’s the weekly news round-up for Friday, July 29.

1. Pressure for inquest for Beau Baker; SIU under pressure

The SIU’s silence when it comes to police killings is coming under scrutiny again this week. As the SIU–the body that investigates death and injury associated with police action–refused to release the names of the officers involved in killing Abdirahman Abdi in Ottawa, pressure is mounting for transparency and accountability in this and similar cases. Locally, the SIU has refused to release the name of the officer who fatally shot Beau Baker, a 20 year old Kitchener man who was threatening self-harm. While parts of the SIU’s report into Baker’s death have been made public, much is still hidden. Calls for an inquest have been renewed this week as Baker’s family and the public continue to seek answers and justice.

2. Redesign and Improvements for Waterloo Park

This week, Waterloo city council decided to move ahead with a 1.4 million dollar redesign to the walkway that runs right through the Waterloo Park’s core.

This nearly one kilometer long trail has been vigorously used by the public within the region. The plan of this redesign hopes to reduce conflict among cars, cyclists, and pedestrians.

The redesign will consist of widening and repaving of the trail, designating dedicated cycling lanes, replacing of lighting along with improving tree canopies and installing light crossings on rail transit tracks.

Improvements for the trail have been suggested in previous years but have experienced delays due to uncertainty over possible routes and layouts to coincide with the LRT.

Announced back in April, the total budget set for the redesign is about 1.4 million dollars including 325,000 provided by the provincial government.

The city hopes to start construction by early next year.

Source
http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/news-story/6785050-waterloo-park-plan-moving-ahead/

3. Zimbabwean community demonstrates

On Saturday, July 23, local Zimbabwean community members demonstrated in Kitchener in protest against the corruption of the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe. Demonstrations were held around the world to condemn the Mugabe government’s practices of corruption, staggering unemployment, and police brutality. Using the hashtag #thisflag, local demonstrators called for a return to positive values for Zimbabwe of integrity, dignity, diversity, and nonviolence.

4. Condo Concerns and City Council’s request for defining bedrooms

What makes a bedroom a bedroom? A new definition has been agreed upon by a condo developer and Waterloo, defining what a bedroom is by defining it by what it is not, according to planner for the University Avenue development, Laura Dewer.

The recent zoning by-law came with aim to avoid overcrowding in apartment units. Controversy grew over the debate after recent condo development proposals within the region.

A bedroom is not a living room, a dining room or any other open areas that are used for sanitary or cooking purposes, including areas with electrical equipment for housing laundry and furnace appliances, nor is it hallways or staircases or rooms without a window.

Dewer was further quoted as saying, “This definition will enable the zoning bylaw to do its job, which is to regulate minimum and maximum population density on a site-by-site basis across the city.” Dewer argued to city council last monday that the definition will help ensure consistency and predictability for all who are involved with the planning of the development .

Chief building official Ralph Kaminiski informed council members that “The new definition ensures that developers disguising dens as bedrooms no longer be an issue.”

The builder for the development, Prica Group, has confirmed the removal of all den designs from their previous floor plan.

http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/news-story/6785003-city-of-waterloo-approves-new-definition-for-bedrooms-as-developments-push-boundaries/

5. Waterloo Region District School board agrees to limit students online access

Starting next Fall, after years of debate on the matter, the Waterloo Region’s Public School Board will increase the ability to filter the content students can access via public schools’ Wi-Fi.

The School Board approved the implementation of a stricter internet filtering system that will restrict the content allowed to be accessed by students after a number of concerns about the inappropriate material surfacing on elementary online computers.

Many advocates for tougher internet surfing measures for children say the battle for improving online safety has been a lengthy endeavor but one that has been worth pursuing.

Although the filtering decision was passed earlier this June, the policy to govern these digital resources will be discussed further when the board meets again in September.

Any requirements that come with additional filtering is said to be able to be accommodated by the board’s budget.

Improved internet safety will require some teachers and subs in order to properly use these new safeguards.

Source
http://www.kitchenerpost.ca/news-story/6748081-increased-internet-filtering-coming-to-a-public-school-near-you/

6. Woolwich councillor summoned to court on alleged Elections Act violations

Woolwich City Councillor Scott Hahn has been summoned to attend provincial court on August 31, to answer to a private citizen’s charges that suggest violations of the Municipal Elections Act.

On last Friday a summons was issued for Scott Hahn after a local resident, Alan Marshall, convinced the Justice of the Peace to accept his private application to the courts against Hahn.

This comes amidst a recent flood of accusations against Woolwich politicians in regards to election finance issues dating back from October 2014 that initiated the push for a forensic audit.

Woolwich Township’s Council was under scrutiny last year after making errors in failing to file elections expenses.

The first complaint to be filed to the audit committee was filed by one of Hahn’s electoral opponents, Dan Holt.

Holts commented on the issue, saying, “I think anytime anybody breaks the law they should account for that.”

Other accusations made against Hahn include providing false or misleading information on his 2014 municipal financial elections return.
Scott Hahn has yet to comment on the court case.

Source

http://www.kitchenerpost.ca/news-story/6771359-woolwich-councillor-summoned-to-court-on-alleged-elections-act-violations/

7. Kool-FM lays off staff in advance of format change

Have a holly jolly Christmas? The waterloo-based station, Kool FM, has been playing christmas music for a couple of days now this week after a format change issued by the owners, Bell Media. The station has re-launched as Virgin Radio, branded under the banner of the telecommunications giant company. One on-air personality along with other Kool FM staff were laid off amidst the format change.

The launch of Virgin Radio was advertised at noon today outside Kitchener City Hall.

8. Events taking place in the K-W area this weekend include Grassroots Powwow Fundraiser

The second annual K-W Grassroots Powwow will be having a yard sale this Saturday, July 31. The yard sale is taking place on 298 Frederick Street from 9 am to 2pm to raise funds for the Grassroots Powwow coming later this October. All proceeds from the event will go towards this year’s Powwow for charity at Bingemans Marshall hall.

It is advertised on their website with the slogan that “One man’s trash is another
man’s treasure”. So come shop for some fabulous finds and support your local 2016 KW Grassroots Powwow!

9. Food & Festivities This Weekend

There’s lots to do in Kitchener-Waterloo this weekend! The annual KW Serbian Food Festival is this Saturday and Sunday July 30-31st from 10am-11pm, both days. It will be held across from the Sunrise shopping plaza on 700 Fischer Hallman Rd. in Kitchener. This event invites the public to share with them a little taste of Serbian food and culture.

There will be live music, dancing, face painting and an ice cream truck will be on site, activities for both children and adults alike.

Admission is free.

And starting this evening, July 29, and running through the weekend is the Mill Race Festival in downtown Cambridge. The festival showcases roots music on multiple stages throughout the downtown core. It’s free to attend, but donations (which will get you a festival program) are welcome. Visit millracefolksociety.com for a list of performers.

And the Afro Festival is happening this Saturday, July 30 from 12-8pm in Waterloo Park, described on its website as “a festival of dance, music, drama, Henna, art and African cuisine celebrating the rich cultural heritage of all of the 56 countries that comprise the African continent.” This year’s festival is particularly celebrating the memory of Sadia Gassim, the founder of African Women’s Alliance of Waterloo Region.

And that wraps up the news for this week July 29, 2016 . Thank you for listening to CKMS Sound FM

editor:

presenter:

From:: Grand River Community News

Community Media Workshop: Research Skills

Want to follow that paper trail or find out the inside history of that corporation, but just can’t track down the documents? Come to a research workshop with journalist Tim Groves to learn how to find the info you want online! This workshop will cover advanced search tools as well as databases and resources that contain documents that are hard to find in other places. Journalists and aspiring media-makers of all levels of experience are invited to attend!

The workshop is free of cost. It will be held on Wednesday, August 3 from 1-3pm at the central branch of the Kitchener Public Library*, Meeting Room D.

* Please note that this event is not sponsored by the KPL.

Dates:
Wed, 08/03/2016 – 13:00 to 15:00

From:: Grand River Community News

CKMS Community News – July 22

Listen to Audio: :

tags:

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 22.

The Scoop on Chicken Coops

The Region of Waterloo first considered allowing chickens in urban backyards in 2009, and again in 2011. But earlier this year city council opted not to follow staff recommendations. Although existing chicken owners show its viability, backyard chicken coops are not currently permitted in the city of Kitchener, and a study of whether to permit or cap the possession of urban hens within the city is expected in October.
The Region of Waterloo Public Health says keeping backyard chickens supports urban agriculture, is a sustainable food system and provides greater food security.
Nathan Somer, on the other hand, highlighted at a recent public meeting the risks involved in keeping chickens. These include more than just the food-borne diseases like salmonella, with other animal-borne diseases like the avian flu, management of chicken poop, and nuisance complaints about possible noise and smell.
Megan Swan, lead animal protection officer at the Guelph Humane Society recommends people really need to do their research and that “There’s a lot of things about owning chickens that people may not realize.” Chickens are said to only be capable of laying eggs for two to five years but can live for an estimated 10 years further.
For the past three decades Guelph has allowed backyard chickens with a bylaw that doesn’t restrict the number of hens or ban the possession of a rooster.
Guelph’s manager of bylaw enforcement, Doug Godfrey, commented on the topic and says “Chickens aren’t a big concern; over the past seven years, the number of complaints about chickens ranged from five in 2012 to 19 last year. Most complaints are easily resolved by speaking to the hen owners. … to put it into perspective, we have thousands of bylaw complaints every year – in 2015 we had 1,700 for just noise and 1,850 complaints about parking.” Once councilors have made a decision, bylaw officers will begin to enforce the rules regarding chicken coops- that is whatever they may be to come.

A Report on Hate Crimes in the Region

This spring, Statistics Canada released a report that found the number of hate crimes reported in Waterloo Region is on the rise, with 28 reported in 2014, up from the 14 reported in 2013. Even so, the number is still lower than the 30 hate crimes recorded in 2012. With that in mind, the Region still has an above average rate of reported hate crimes, at 5.2 reports per 100, 000 people, compared to the 4.3 average. Other municipalities, such as Hamilton and Thunder Bay, have a rate as high as 14 reported crimes per 100, 000 people. By sharp contrast, cities including Regina and Barrie had almost no hate crimes reported.

It should be noted that the increasing number of reported hate crimes does not necessarily suggest that more hate crimes are committed than the year before. As the Region’s Chief of Police, Bryan Larkin explained he felt that, “the increased reporting points to people feeling more comfortable to come forward to police.” Nonetheless, it is difficult to say without specific statistics on the amount of committed versus the amount of reported crimes. According to the report, most hate crimes were nonviolent crimes motivated by religion, race or ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Filsinger Park creek restoration wins award

It was the longest section of concrete removal in Ontario, but after restoring Filsinger Park and the creek that joins the flows into the Victoria Park Lake, the City of Kitchener has won an engineering award for all that hard environmental reformation work.
Originally the stream was a concrete channel for the city’s flood-water management. Now that stream has been transformed back into a natural environment.
In June, the city and the consultants on the project from the development company Stantec won a Diamond Design and Construction Award from the Consulting Engineers of Ontario.
The award was presented at the group’s annual general meeting earlier this week.
The restoration of the creek involved workers removing a 1.7 kilometres long concrete storm channel in order to reinstate the the structured stream back into a sinuous waterway.
The city says removing the concrete from the creek has improved fish habitat and vegetation in the area.
Restoring of the channel is just one of the pieces to the city’s plan to improve its stormwater management.

New Program for Students Suffering from New School Anxiety

Carizon, a counselling agency located in Kitchener, is launching a new program this summer for students going into grade 7 and 9 this September. The idea behind the two week long program, called Leader in Me, is to comfort any students who are nervous about attending a new school. The new program is Carizon’s response to a demand from parents.
While the service would usually be offered as individual counselling, the new program is targeting ‘new school anxiety’ in students, and thus allowing the Centre to provide its services in a group environment. The activities involved in taking part of this program will encourage students to develop their leadership skills, improve communication skills, and even boost their self-esteem, while learning to cope with and lower their level of stress throughout the school year.
The counsellors involved in the program didn’t want to spoil the surprise by specifying the exact activities planned but emphasized that while the program will be educational, it will be packed with fun activities, both indoor and outdoor.
The cost of the Monday to Friday, 1 to 4 PM program is $150 and includes snacks and all art activities. For those going into grade 7, the program will run from August 8 to 12. For those going into grade 9, the program will be August 15 until the 19. For more information visit Carizon’s website or call 519-743-6333.

It should however, be noted that something as simple as 10 hours of sleep a night for teenagers, a healthy diet, and some easy breathing exercises can be effective in reducing back to school stress. Psychological doctor Shimi Kang explains that breathing deeply, beyond a normal, amount fully expands the lungs which means receptors signal the brain that everything is okay, thus relaxing the mind and body. On top of that, parents are encouraged to create positive environment by helping their children talk about their anxieties, and set a positive tone by discussing the unique opportunity of making new friendships, and learning new material. For more serious anxiety, parents can call counselling agencies to set up one-on-one appointment with psychologists or counsellors.

Communitech Data Hub planned for Uptown Waterloo

Waterloo City Council is working to bring a Communitech Data Hub to the old police station on Erb Street in Uptown Waterloo.
Founded in 1997, the local company says it strives to elevate the Waterloo Region tech community and its vision, as indicated on its website, is for more tech talent, a globally recognized tech sector and better support for companies within the region.
Waterloo Mayor, Dave Jaworsky, commented on the decision to proceed this term and says that the Hub will organize the terabytes of data that is being gathered by local business on consumer spending and information. Information that is provided by businesses will then be made available for data scientists to analyze and garner insights on trends and products and that “What we have is an opportunity to start creating a centre of excellence on data and to create new companies, to start creating jobs and really the spillover effect is to bring urban employment back to Uptown Waterloo.” Mayor Jaworsky went on to add “It’s through this big data that we’re going to bring some of the smartest minds here, you’re going to see corporations come in here with investments saying, “You know what, we have an enormous amount of data and we need to create an outpost here in Waterloo, Ontario to start analysing that data and make better use of it to serve our consumers.”

The overall goal for this decision is to use the consumer data such as postal codes and emails that are being collected that are not being used as efficiently as they could be.
While some consumer data is voluntarily provided through in-store surveys, much can be obtained otherwise. Privacy advocates have long warned of the potential impacts of the large quantities of data that can be gathered on consumers, as such information can quite specifically illustrate individual lifestyles and patterns of movement.

School Board Trustees to Allow Volunteers to Supervise After School Activities

Waterloo Region’s School Board trustees have taken steps to prevent teachers from using the elimination of after school activities as a means of forcing compliance with their demands. The Board unanimously voted to allow volunteers to supervise students without teachers, in certain circumstances. Obviously, this move by the School Board will limit the teachers’ union in term of leverage during job actions. The Board clarified that potential volunteers would only be allowed to supervise low-risk activities such as drama or chess club. On top of that, volunteers will be screened, trained, approved by a school principal, and covered by the school’s insurance.

Last year, many elementary students protested by refusing to attend class for a day, after teachers withdrew from supervising after school activities as a part of bargaining for the most recent union contract. Both parents and students felt that the job action movement last year caused students to miss out on the activities they loved the most, which made their school experience less enjoyable. The School Board trustees felt that students should not have to miss out or be upset because of labour disputes, and as such moved to reduce the future impact these disputes might have on student. On that note, Natalie Waddell, a School Board trustee said, “Ideally I’d like to see it so that parents can volunteer to do those types of activities not just during a labour dispute, but actually all year round.” Waddell went on to express hope that the proposed policy will be ready for School Board confirmation this Autumn.

Two area beaches posted for high bacteria levels

To swim or not to swim shouldn’t be a second thought for summer swimmers but two area beaches have been established questionable in the Waterloo Region after the discovery of elevated levels of bacteria that could pose potential risks for swimmers.
The two areas in question are at Belwood Park’s quarry beach and the Conestoga Lake Park.
Midweek, this week, elevated levels of the E. coli bacteria were found in tests that are to ensure that the city’s water quality meets the provincial guidelines for swimming.
Warning signs have been posted at both affected areas. Swimming should be avoided but the public has the option to swim at their own risk.

Laurier Strikes A Deal

CUPE 926, the union of custodial staff at Wilfrid Laurier University, reached a deal with the University following strike action last week. The deal was ratified by the Union on Monday. While the strike action aimed to keep custodial jobs within the Union, the deal allows the University to pursue its plan of contracting out future positions of this nature, which the Union cautions will likely be lower wage and without benefits and Union protection. While CUPE 926 had substantial support from other union locals, many its own members crossed the picket line to continue work. The University rationalised the move by comparing this policy to ones reached at other post-secondary institutions. Such policy modelling has been a feature of neoliberal ‘harmonisation’ efforts that have become common in North America, which take the weakest examples of policy and adopt them across the board.

More bike parking wanted throughout Waterloo

This week, survey results shown on the City of Waterloo website have revealed that city cyclists want more inner city parking, and not just within the Uptown core.
Approximately 450 locations were highlighted at shopping centres and plazas across the city.
The identified areas include the plaza on the corner of Columbia St. West and Fischer-Hallman Rd., the Waterloo Corporate Campus on Northfield Dr. and Weber St. North, the Bridge St. and University Ave. East plaza along with additional parking required at Conestoga Mall.
This came as a surprise to John Griffin, the city’s project manager for active transportation and LRT integration.
Griffin said there isn’t any money in the budget for more bike racks in 2016, but there is money available come 2017 and 2018. Griffin went on to further comment and said, “Yes it was . We know people want more bike parking at parks, but we realized they can just lie them down on the ground whereas commercial shopping centres you have to go in the building.” end quote.Parking requests were concentrated in the Uptown core, which didn’t surprise Griffin since the study in 2015 found that 70% of shoppers in uptown Waterloo had either arrived by bicycle, public transit or on foot. Griffin said the results could push the implementation for public-private partnerships with the city and local businesses to provide more bicycle parking within the city.
Not including installation, however, the cost for a five-ring bike rack is about $1,500 while inverted U racks cost about $150 each.This study reflects cyclists’ needs for more secure parking in the city, convenient parking locations, and more bicycle parking overall.
So far, the steps the city has made to address these concerns include the installation of two secure lockers at the uptown parkade, inverted U racks along Willis Way and at Vincenzo’s; as well as the installation of two five-ring racks at the public square and new inverted U racks at Waterloo City Hall.
There will be a formation of a team to begin implementing bicycle parking and to develop a strategies to provide more parking in the city.
However, out of the 450 highlighted not all will be feasible . “It’s going to be challenge implementing,” noted Griffin.

For more information on this topic, you can visit the city’s website at www.waterloo.ca/en/government/engagewaterloo.asp and click “closed topics”

Water Treatment Bugs are Super Productive this Hot Summer

This year’s hot summer has proven extremely beneficial for our wastewater treatment system. That is to say, there has been no actual change to the system itself, but the heat has created a perfect environment for the bugs that are in charge of cleaning up the wastewater. Of course, these bugs are not really bugs, but rather microscopic bugs, and some of them are roundworms. Thomas Schmidt, Waterloo Region’s Commissioner of transportation and environmental services explained that with the recent heatwave the bugs , “…are hungrier, they grow faster, they grow bigger, they absorb things more quickly,” He then continued to say that the responsibility of the bugs is to eat away any organic material, which actually eliminates the concentration of ammonia from the water. As such, since the bugs are particularly hungry this summer, the process of removing ammonia has improved greatly. Another reason why the water is better this summer is that less water goes through the treatment plant, which means that the water can be treated for a longer period of time.

On that note, the Director of water services Nancy Kodousek said the the process of treating the water begins with removing large material from the water, such as waste and sticks, after which, air is introduced to the system to allow for the bugs to grow from the waste. She went on to say that once the bugs eat, they settle at the bottom of the system, at which point they are called biosolids, and are scraped away. Each month, the Region fills about 18 Olympic sized swimming pools with the scraped up biosolids. Finally, the water is filtered and often a disinfectant solution is added. She summed up stating that this is very good for the Grand River.

As of this year, the Region has been drafting proposals on what to do with the biosolids, in response to 2013’s scandal of spending $4.7 million on a private contractor to send the biosolids out to farmers in adjoining communities.

Heat warning issued for Waterloo Region, Wellington County

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the Waterloo Region and Wellington County.
The hot and humid conditions arrived this Thursday and will continue into the weekend.
Heat Warnings are issued when the humidex value is expected to reach 40 degrees celsius or more or when temperatures range between 29-40 degrees celsius or greater.
Remember that heat illnesses can be prevented.
Some tips for keeping cool this weekend include: Drinking plenty of fluids, more importantly water, and avoid drinking liquids that are high in sugar, caffeine or alcohol, wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, and arrange public outings or activities during the cooler parts of the day. Municipalities across the region have posted a list of public cooling centres online that include city hall buildings, libraries, shopping malls and outdoor splash pads found within our city’s parks. For a full list of cooling centres throughout the city you can visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca/extremeheat

Update on Tent City

Tent City, a protest event held every summer in Kitchener-Waterloo, but also across Canada is coming to a close of its public face this week. This year’s Tent City began in Victoria Park, where participants set up their tents to camp out on Roo’s Island. With Ribfest occurring in the park, Tent City agreed to move to the rear section of the park. However, they were subsequently displaced from this and their next location at Sandhills Park in the Cedar Hill neighbourhood. The current location has not been disclosed. The purpose of Tent City is to raise awareness against gentrification, which is the process of renewing and urbanizing lower class neighbourhoods to attract middle or higher class individuals, ultimately driving out lower income people because, as a result, they cannot afford rising real estate prices. Everyone is invited to take part in Tent City, whether they are against gentrification, or whether they’ve been directly affected by it. The hope is to remove the out of sight out of mind mindset around growing poverty and gentrification.

Individuals involved in the demonstration have asked the government to add affordable housing, so that those left homeless because of gentrification can once again have a home without being displaced from their community.

Update: Tent City organisers have indicated that they are now in negotiations with the City on affordable housing placements.

Kitchener seeks residents’ goodwill to keep young trees alive

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle that first hit KW trees in 2010, and now is expected to kill an estimated 5,000 ash trees and about 80% of ash trees in the city thereafter by 2017.
Due to the destructiveness of the beetle’s presence, the city has planted about 1,000 new ash trees, and now these trees need to be watered at least once a week for the first two years; unfortunately the city doesn’t have the budget or human-power to water all of the new trees.
So earlier this week, the city sent out flyers to homeowners where the trees have been planted and are seeking volunteers to help water these trees.
The city only has three trucks available to water these new trees and Adam Buitendyk, urban forest technologist with the city, commented on the issue and said quote “ This is the first year we’re really pushing to encourage residents to water” end quote.
With record hot temperatures along with the prolonged drought, residents’ willingness to water is even more crucial according to Buitendyk. Since the past two years, every tree planted in the city has been equipped with green watering bags. Its design allows for water to be released slowly over several hours to reduce waste and evaporation, also encouraging maximum root growth for those trees.
Dozen of young trees have been planted in areas in order to replace the lost ash trees.
Trees provide a number of benefits, from enhancing natural beauty, providing cool shade, reducing stormwater runoff and diminishes carbon, but these benefits don’t really apply until a tree hits maturity which is suggested to be after about 20 years.
So without volunteers, the city may risk losing a higher percentage of its young trees which might require the city to cut the number of trees to be planted next year and thereafter.
So please go out and volunteer to water the new ash trees within the city which can be easily identified by their green watering bags around the base of the tree. The public can also check the city’s website at www.kitchener.ca/en/livinginkitchener/tree-watering.asp
To see how often to water or to sign up for weekly watering emails within your area.

Music and food in town this week

If you’re in Kitchener this week, there are a number of events coming up for you to check out. The Rock and Rumble, an event for motorcycle and rock music enthusiasts, featuring live music and food trucks, is starting this evening outside Kitchener City Hall. And on Thursday, July 28, the Sherwood Shindig is happening all day on 124 Ottawa St S, featuring free music by Steve Strongman, Jojo Worthington, and others. The event starts at 10:30, with music starting at the lunch hour.

And that wraps up the news for July 22.

podcast:

From:: Grand River Community News