'Tis the Season to be Jolly
Guy Lombardo's multiple-award-winning Tempo VII hydroplane, built in 1955 and powered by an Allison aircraft engine, has been owned by the City of London since 1983 when it was donated to the City by the late Colonel Tom Lawson.
It is currently on display at London's Jet Aircraft Museum along with the Miss Supertest III hydroplane, immediately northwest of the London International Airport. It is open Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm.
Contact London's heritage planner Don Menard (dmenardATlondon.ca) if you or your organization are interested in displaying the Tempo VII in a public setting for a special short-term event.
LOMBARDO TRIVIA: London-born-and-raised bandleader Guy Lombardo (June 19, 1902- Nov. 5, 1977) never travelled across the bridge named in his honour in London, Ontario, since the bridge never officially opened until Nov. 16, 1978, more than a year after his death.
Guy Lombardo (1902-1977) with his younger sister, Rosemarie Lombardo (1925-2011) in the 1940s. Guy and his brothers in the orchestra actually named their sister Rosemarie, who was born 23 years after Guy.
||Wednesday, February 08 2012 @ 02:57 AM EST
| Rare Canadian artwork by Selwyn Dewdney (reportedly) at Electro-Motive Diesel in London: TMR, Feb. 6
"London may well be Canada’s largest city without a list of important and historic archives – one reason why few seemed to realize that behind the fence at the Electro-Motive plant are five large paintings by an artist of national importance with deep London roots."
SHOCKER: JFK's former teen mistress writes tell-all book, NYP, Feb. 5
Civic Meetings in London, ON, Mon. Feb. 6 to Fri. Feb. 10
Caterpillar Inc. stripped Canada clean of its locomotive technology in London, Ontario, TS, Feb. 5
BREAKING NEWS, 10 AM, FEB. 3: The Electro-Motive Diesel plant on Oxford Street East in London is being closed by its U.S. parent companies Progress Rail and Caterpillar Inc. About 765 (465 unionized and 300 management) jobs will be lost locally, plus many more jobs with local suppliers, CNW, Feb. 3
Never trust a politician with a snap-on hairdo
Correlation between low IQ and conservative views, V, Feb. 2
Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee dead at age 90, BBC, Feb. 2
THOUGHT DU JOUR: Water fluoridation is the only case in modern civilization's history (to my knowledge) where industry has managed to avoid the costs of taking its toxic waste to toxic waste disposal dumps and somehow managed to be paid for its toxic waste products and have them dumped into the public drinking water ~ for many decades.
Give it some thought.
Watch London City Council live right now (meeting started at 5 pm., Tues. Jan. 31), RTVL, Jan. 31
The 'Windsor Hum' and the call for federal intervention, CTV, Jan. 31
Monitoring the Planned Poisoning of Humanity, ACO, Jan. 31
Gina Barber on water fluoridation, LCW, Jan. 31
WATER FLUORIDATION: Bureaucratic inertia is alive and well at the Middlesex-London Health Unit
THOUGHT DU JOUR: "When are we going to stop denying that the energy policy of the United States is run by the oil cartel? Oil is behind the war in Iraq. Oil is the reason we give the fundamentalist, terrorist-breeding theocracy of Saudi Arabia a pass. Oil is the reason we can't get a goddamn energy policy in this country. Almost every important administration official has a connection to the oil industry." ~ Lee Iacocca, from his book "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" (2007).
Civic Meetings in London, ON, from Mon. Jan. 30 to Fri. Feb. 3
VIDEO: Mayor Joe Fontana hits a zero-per-cent tax increase for the second year in a row!
The Death of Slippery the Seal on January 10, 1967. It's Part 7 of 7 of the Slippery the Seal documentary by the late Chris Doty. I've posted all 7 videos on my Facebook page.
Next Tuesday, Jan. 31st, London City Council will probably decide to close the seal pool and ship all 4 of the harbour seals in Storybook Gardens to St. Louis, Missouri, since they don't want to spend the dough to bring the seal pool up to modern-day standards, thereby ending a 54-year-tradition of having seals at Storybook Gardens. London is the City of Opportunity, indeed.
Caterpillar Inc.'s profits surge, LFP. Jan. 26
Caterpillar Inc.'s media release, CAT, Jan. 26
Electro-Motive Lock-Out in London, Ontario, HP, Jan. 24
Unions must adapt to survive, TS, Jan. 24
THOUGHT DU JOUR: Oh great, after the public participation meeting last night (Wed. Jan. 25) regarding water fluoridation, we'll get a report back from City staff and the Middlesex-London Health Unit in 6-8 weeks, once things cool off.
These two groups are the same jokers who think water fluoridation is hunky-dory. You can imagine what their report will say: Steady as she goes, stay the course!
Get that toxic crap out of our public drinking water!
Even if you support local water fluoridation, you should also support the right of Londoners to vote on the matter via a ballot question during the 2014 municipal election ~ noting the last ballot question regarding water fluoridation was 45 years ago in 1967 when the vast majority of Londoners alive today were either not born yet or not of legal voting age.
As Dr. William Hirzy, Senior Vice-President of the EPA's Professionals Headquarters Union, put it, "if this stuff [hydrofluosilicic acid] gets out into the air, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the river, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the lake, it’s a pollutant; but if it goes right straight into your drinking water system, it’s not a pollutant. That’s amazing!"
MR. ZERO-PERCENT: Mayor Joe wants us to pay for his own website, separate from the City's, LFP, Jan. 25
Mayor Joe has really done it now. Setting up his own website away from the City's and expecting us to pick up the tab. Joe ... Joe ... say it isn't so.
Let the boycott begin ...
THIS JUST IN: All three TSC Stores in London have taken Caterpillar Inc. products off their shelves in support of the approximately 470 locked-out (unionized) workers at Electro-Motive Diesel Canada on Oxford Street East in London.
Caterpillar has its own line of work clothing and work boots.
The irrepressible Art Cartier dies at age 97
BREAKING NEWS: Art Cartier (pictured left), a former long-time member of London City Council, former Thames Valley Public School Board trustee, former Public Utilities Commissioner, former London Free Press employee and author, has died at the age of 97.
Art started out many moons ago as a sports editor-reporter for the Chatham Daily News.
I remember volunteering with Art to man the London-Middlesex Historical Society booth in the Confederation Building at the Western Fair approximately 16 years ago and he had more energy at 81 than the Energizer Bunny.
Visitation is at A. Millard George Funeral Home on Ridout Street South (near Bruce) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, January 27.
Art's funeral is set for Saturday, January 28 at 10:30 am at Calvary United Church at 290 Ridout Street South at Cavalry United Church on the southeast corner of Ridout and Garfield Avenue.
Art's obituary can be read HERE (NOW WORKING:
Millard George's site is currently not working for some reason but the LFP obituary can be found HERE).
The Civic Works Committee of London City Council is holding a public participation meeting regarding water fluoridation on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 7 pm at Centennial Hall. Londoners have been drinking fluoridated water since 1967 after a plebiscite. At the very least it's time for another ballot question since the vast majority of Londoners alive today were either not born by 1967 or not of legal voting age.
Cliff Nordal and his astounding pay package on the taxpayers' dime, LFP, Jan. 25
AltLondon remembers that, not only is January 25 Robbie Burns Day, but it is also Norman James Aldridge's birthday!
Norm Aldridge roaming the field at Labatt Park during the fundraising ballgame, The Rumble at the Riverforks, between the London Majors Oldtimers, members of city council and the media, on May 31, 1998. The game was organized by The Friends of Labatt Park and SCENE magazine to raise money for a new cedar-shingle roof on the Roy McKay Clubhouse which was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1996. The park itself was designated in 1994. PHOTO: Herb (The Shooter) Walsh
Norm-baby, who is AltLondon's ongoing inspiration, is 87 years young!
Norm's been inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame (twice) as a member (trainer) of the Can-Am/ Canadian/ Ontario/ Intercounty champs, the 1948 London Majors Baseball Club and also the trainer of the Canadian Champion 1970 London TV-Cable Fastball Team. Norm also has the premier baseball diamond at Stronach Park in northeast London named after him ~ Norm Aldridge Field!
||Tuesday, January 24 2012 @ 01:41 AM EST
|Storybook seals likely leaving the can-do City of Opportunity
TUESDAY, JAN. 24: Last night at city hall, the Community Services Standing Committee voted 4-1 to recommend relocating all the wildlife, including the harbour seals, at Storybook Gardens to out-of-town facilities in Canada and the U.S.
Only committee member Coun. Dale Henderson (pictured left) voted against the recommendation. The matter goes to City Council next Tuesday night (Jan. 31).
2008 Business Plan proposed improving popular wildlife enclosures at Storybook Gardens
The following sentence is from the 2008 council-approved Business Plan for Storybook Gardens:
"Although the reduction to only farm animals is quite attractive from a financial perspective, it would have a drastic impact on the marketability of Storybook Gardens and we recommend maintaining a 'Modified Zoo and Farm.'”
TRANSLATION: City staff are now wanting to implement what they once said would "have a drastic impact on the marketability of Storybook Gardens" in 2008, noting the "modified zoo and farm" concept meant keeping the popular seals and a few other wildlife exhibits.
No wonder some council members are confused.
Regarding the remaining wildlife at Storybook Gardens, this "added" report is going before the Community Services Committee tonight at 7 pm, Jan. 23
FROM THE REPORT: "The modified zoo option was presented and endorsed in 2008 recognized that the Storybook
Gardens zoo enclosures are aging and do not meet cunent best practices and public expectations for the housing of captive wildlife. The 'modified zoo' approach anticipated maintaining the seal pool and possibly as many as 2-3 other main [wildlife] exhibits, the remaining exhibits were to be enhanced and improved as funding allowed. Subsequent investigation into renovation of the existing enclosures to bring them up to current standards is estimated to be in the millions of dollars and far exceeds available funding."
TRANSLATION: City staff's original plan was to keep and improve the sea pool and a few other wildlife exhibits at Storybook but City staff changed their minds.
Proposed seal move from Storybook Gardens making waves, LFP, Jan. 23
I just put in an order for a hundred T-shirts with "Save the Seals!" emblazoned on the front. Figure it works for animal rights activists and me
Time to leave the City of Opportunity behind, LCW, Jan. 23
Slippery the Sea Lion had the right idea back in 1958. Ditto for the Lombardo orchestra in 1924. Let's blow this pop stand! Senior City managers Jeff Fielding, Pat McNally and Ron Standish are leaving at the end of January 2012!
If one actually reads the 2008 Business Plan, getting rid of all the wildlife was not proposed. Improving the most popular wildlife exhibits was proposed.
Perhaps there's been a coup at London city hall, with community services staff successfully executing the takeover.
VIDEO: Thousands Rally in London, Ontario, CTV-London, Jan. 22
Mayor calls out PM at labour rally, LFP, Jan. 22
Civic Works Committee agenda regarding water fluoridation ~ public participation meeting on Jan. 25
It's time for another ballot question. 45 years is too long
Tax-and-spend levy-slush fund dead ~ for now; first they have to figure out what they'd do with OUR money, LFP, Jan. 21
CIVIC SNAKEOIL: First Mayor Joe et al. tried to sell us a bill of goods regarding restructuring London Hydro in order to make it more attractive to sell to Edmonton-based utility giant EPCOR and that idea crashed-and-burned; then they wanted to whack us all with a "1%-economic-development levy" and that slush-fund scheme swirled down the toilet. But rest assured they'll try again on both fronts in the not-to-distant future. After all, London is the City of Opportunity. P.S. Which way to the urban beach?
Baseball Canada's favourite ballpark banner to be unveiled at Labatt Park on July 14
BREAKING NEWS, JAN. 21: Another AltLondon news exclusive ~ AltLondon has learned the City of London will be unveiling "Baseball Canada's Favourite Ballpark banner" ~ won last summer by historic Labatt Memorial Park after a two-month online contest conducted by Baseball Canada ~ during London's Eager Beaver Baseball Association (EBBA)'s annual Frank Colman Day at the park on Saturday, July 14, 2012.
BREAKING NEWS: End of an era at London's Storybook Gardens
ARCHIVAL VIDEO: The legend of Slippery the Seal, Channel 10, 1958
Slippery the Seal was a superstar in 1958, CDN, Jan. 21
The Saga of Slippery the Sea Lion, DD, Jan. 21
THIS JUST IN, 12 PM, JAN. 20: An AltLondon scoop ... Bowing to pressure from organizations such as Zoocheck Canada et al., the City of London/ Storybook Gardens will be re-locating their non-domesticated animals later this year, including the harbour seals, beavers, otter, lynx and birds of prey to better wildlife facilities in the U.S. and Canada.
The City of London was close to spending $600-K on a 10-day light show in the downtown but it seems it never occurred to our civic brain-trust to upgrade the facilities for the animals at Storybook Gardens. The most recent public input regarding Storybook Gardens was in 2008 ~ with a previous city council.
And yet community services department staff have announced this wildlife relocation from Storybook is a done deal with only a "verbal" report by City staff mentioned online. NEW: A written report, apparently, will be available on the City's website on Monday morning, according to a Friday afternoon media release from the City.
City staff's recent decision to unload ALL wildlife at Storybook Gardens is not proposed in the Business Plan from 2008
In the 2008 Business Plan (on which public participation and council action were based), there were no plans to unload ALL wildlife. In fact, improvements were proposed to the respective enclosures (seal sea pool, otter, beaver etc.) and staff reported "The sea pool [housing the seals] is the most popular animal exhibit in the park."
ALTERNATE POINT OF VIEW RECEIVED BY E-MAIL: "This process has been very open and transparent ~ it just has not been of great public interest and has occurred over time.
"There was a Public Participation process in April of 2008 to discuss a new future for Storybook. This was openly advertised and there was a PPM.
"The PPM was covered in The London Free Press in advance of the actual meeting, and there was still only a very small list of delegates, so this was not a burning issue for Londoners.
"Later, a Citizen Task Force was created ~ again, openly advertised and open to any Londoner to apply for.
"There were various work groups as part of this Task Force, Environmental Initiatives, Inter-active Play, Literacy, Storybook Themes, and Animals. About 30 people participated in this.
"These work groups met for about 8 weeks and filed recommendations to Storybook management.
"The recommendation from the Animals sub-committee was that the wild animal portion of the zoo be phased out and improvements made for the remaining domestic animals.
"City Council later passed a motion that the zoo would be modified over time, which would include transferring animals out. It was noted that this is a lengthy process that may take several years, as indeed it has.
"This was in an open Council meeting.
"So ~ there has been a lot of civic engagement and open discussion, and this has not been done in secret."
Storybook Gardens first opened in 1958 amid much fanfare. To read a comprehensive history of Storybook Gardens by historian Carling Marshall-Luymes, CLICK HERE.
1290-CJBK-AM is holding a London Theme Song contest ($1,000 cash prize), CJBK, Jan. 20
Civic Meetings in London, ON, Mon. Jan. 23 to Fri. Jan. 27
Another Londoner questions council's commitment to 'citizen engagement' Jan. 20
STATUTORY BALLOT QUESTION: "Are you in favour of the discontinuance of the fluoridation of the public water supply of this municipality?"
THOUGHT DU JOUR: Even if you support local water fluoridation, you should also support the right of Londoners to vote on the matter via a ballot question during the 2014 municipal election ~ noting the last ballot question regarding water fluoridation was 45 years ago in 1967 when the vast majority of Londoners alive today were either not born yet or not of legal voting age.
As Dr. William Hirzy, Senior Vice President of the EPA's Professionals Headquarters Union, put it, "if this stuff [hydrofluosilicic acid] gets out into the air, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the river, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the lake, it’s a pollutant; but if it goes right straight into your drinking water system, it’s not a pollutant. That’s amazing!"
VIDEO: Peanut butter falls in love with Jam
VIDEO: Snooze you lose 'cause I've got news for you, YT, Jan. 19
VIDEO: An interview with Dr. Hardy Limeback regarding water fluoridation, Part 1 of 3, YT, Jan. 17
Water fluoridation: Benefits and risks, FC, Jan. 17
Ontario's Fluoridation Act sets out the process to put fluoride into Ontario's public drinking water and also for its removal
Added Communication regarding water fluoridation public participation meeting on Jan. 25, 2012, at Centennial Hall
Chair and Members
Civic Works Committee
The Corporation of the City of London
c/o the City Clerk's office
Re: There's considerable scientific evidence demonstrating that water fluoridation is dangerous, unnecessary and unethical
Incredibly, Dr. Bryna Warshawsky, Associate Medical Officer of Health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), publicly stated on the radio a few months ago that there's NO scientific evidence to cause us concern about water fluoridation.
In this regard, please note the scores of scientific studies cited below from an article by Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSc, PhD, DDS ("Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water"), one of Canada's leading authorities on preventive dentistry and water fluoridation, to judge for yourself whether or not there's any scientific evidence that water fluoridation is harmful to human health.
You can read many of the individual scientific studies and reports cited below, online by Googling them.
The MLHU's fall-back position is, as I understand it, due to the relatively low levels of fluoride in London's drinking water, there is no cause for concern. But scientific studies also indicate that fluoride and its associated toxins accumulates in our tissue and organs.
One of the tenets of modern medicine is that it's unethical to medicate an adult (with all of their mental faculties) against their will. Water fluoridation of our drinking water is clearly "mass medication" based on the local authority of a ballot question from 45 years ago (1967).
At the very least, Londoners deserve a new ballot question regarding water fluoridation during London's 2014 civic election ~ noting the majority of Londoners alive today were not of voting age in 1967.
At first, positive change seems impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.
||Tuesday, January 17 2012 @ 06:00 AM EST
|A leading Canadian authority on preventative dentistry vigorously opposes water fluoridation (scroll down to the end of the article to see scores of scientific studies and reports cited), FA, Jan. 17
It's interesting that many Londoners are reluctant to get the flu shot but drink fluoridated water without questioning the wisdom of water fluoridation despite mounds of evidence that it is both dangerous and unnecessary
FROM TWITTER: SteveYoung CTV
CTV News has learned Michael Rafferty, facing murder charges in death of #ToriStafford also faces sexual assault charge as well. @CTVLondon pm, Jan. 16?
Civic Meetings in London, Ontario, Mon. Jan. 16 to Fri. Jan. 20
VIDEO: London's new theme song "London is the City of Opportunity" rockets to Number One in Care-Bear Land, YT, Jan. 12
VIDEO: Hitler reacts to London's new theme song, YT, Jan. 12
Phil McLeod comments on the mayor's state-of-the-city address yesterday morning, TMR, Jan. 12
London, Ontario, Canada ~ Boom Town, YT, Jan. 12
Shortly after Mayor Joe proclaimed "London is the City of Opportunity," robber knocks off FOUR banks in 136 minutes
BREAKING NEWS, JAN. 11: Three banks in London have been robbed this morning, all within 30 minutes: TD-Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal at Wellington Road South and Baseline, ScotiaBank at Richmond and Oxford.
Police now say there was a fourth bank robbery, linked to the other three. See STORY HERE. ~ and now a fifth by another robber. Holy Mackeral. Has to be a record for London, Ontario.
The suspected get-away vehicle is a grey Jeep with license plates: BRM C851. Developing.
CITIZEN REPORTER SARAH WATKIN ~ 2:30 pm ~ Police chase has just terminated at Waterloo and Oxford. Swat team. Guns drawn. Canine unit on-scene. A Jeep collided with a van driven by a woman who was taken away by ambulance. The driver of the Jeep has escaped on foot. Police in pursuit. One suspect in custody. Busy corner of late involving money and petroleum jelly.
'Joe the Robot' a dud this morning before 1,200
BREAKING NEWS: At the Mayor's Annual State-of-the-City Address at the London Convention Centre this morning, Mayor Joe Fontana attempted to unveil "Joe the Robot" (reportedly made in Russia) to promote London's high-tech sector but the robot was a complete dud due to a malfunctioning power supply.
Last I saw of the robot, it was in the back of a Zubick's Scrap Metal pick-up truck heading east.
Mayor Fontana also unveiled London's new syrupy sweet theme song "London is the City of Opportunity" written and sang by Jim (The Voice of London) Chapman and the Incontinentals. But no live performance, just a recording. That's when some people started heading out the door ~ likely due to the line in the song: "Imagine a factory where none was before" which really cuts close to the bone.
Jimmy Chapman's song is not exactly a big hit with the poll respondents at the LFP online.
Incredibly, Mayor Fontana emphatically slammed Guy Lombardo ~ the best ambassador London, Ontario, Canada, has ever had ~ when he was talking about London's downtown being the "beat" of the city and how Guy Lombardo can't cut it anymore (Lombardo died in 1977).
Mayor Fontana was extremely upbeat about London's future, as usual, with London in the throes of an unemployment rate of 9.6%, an unfolding biker war and impending plant closures such as Electro-Motive Diesel and Accuride.
Play in the works to honour Lombardo brothers, LFP, Jan. 11
Finally, a spark of creativity returns to Melonville after years of cultural amnesia
City Council kills previously approved $600-K light show, LFP, Jan. 11
Finally, some fiscal responsibility returns to Melonville
The London Fress Press reports cleanup of contaminated properties is nearly complete when 24-7 remediation plan has yet to be approved by the MoE, LFP, Jan. 9
Shell Canada's yet-to-be-approved remediation plan, MoE
AltLondon has learned that on December 16, 2011, Shell Canada purchased the commercial property at 775 Waterloo Street for $600,000 and the heritage home at 777 Waterloo Street (now boarded up) for $290,000 from David Murphy of Murphy & Murphy Architects.
Both properties are in the Bishop Hellmuth Heritage Conservation District in old north London.
Someone must have been rubbed the wrong way
BREAKING NEWS, UPDATED JAN. 9: London Police have now revealed a possible motive for the three fires last Sunday, Jan. 8 during the early-morning hours.
A fire occurred about 3:45 a.m. last Sat. Jan. 7, causing $5,000 damage to a business at Hamilton Road and Little Hill Street. This is the location of tattoo parlour, La Tinta Latina, owned by an Outlaws Motorcycle Club member.
Blue Lagoon Massage at Oxford Street East and Empire Street was subsequently torched the next day (Sun. Jan. 8) at approximately 4:40 am, Famous Flesh Gordon's at Oxford Street East and Industrial Road at 5:04 am and Empire Street and Virginia's Adult Massage and Spa at Clarke Road and Charterhouse Crescent at 5:15 am.
All three businesses have ties to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Geez, I wonder if all four torch jobs are related? Inspector Clouseau will ferret out the truth, no doubt.
OPSEU MEDIA RELEASE
Cuts to developmental services to hit London's most vulnerable
An announcement this week by Community Living London that seven staff will receive layoff notices will be a severe blow to services for persons with developmental disabilities, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, says the government's refusal to provide adequate funding for developmental services is a shameful act, hurting the most vulnerable people in the London area.
"The Ministry of Community and Social Services has continued to ignore the chronic under-funding crisis in this sector," Thomas said. "Waiting lists across the province continue to rise with no relief in sight."
||Saturday, January 07 2012 @ 12:01 AM EST
|THOUGHT DU JOUR: All property owners in the area of the Shell Canada station at the northwest corner of Oxford and Waterloo streets in London should be examining the fat file at the Ministry of Environment's office on Exeter Road about the hydrocarbon contamination from that gas station. It's not just soil contamination but also groundwater contamination (think aquifer).
BREAKING NEWS: The London Transit Commission has ordered all their drivers to start wearing bibs while driving a bus.
BREAKING NEWS: The Village of Grand Bend, Ontario, has put its well-known sunset up for sale. Asking price: $25-million. Several members of London city council think it would fit nicely with the proposed beach at the Forks of the Thames River.
OVERHEARD IN THE NEWSROOM: London Free Press Editor-in-Chief Joe Ruscitti ordering a pizza at work: "I want a large deluxe pizza with double cheese, but hold the anchovies and the Dan MacLellan story."
BREAKING NEWS: Mayor Joe Fontana urges the CAW and Electro-Motive management to "get back to the bargaining table, roll up the sleeves and have a cuppa coffee. We're not making tweezers here, we're making locomotives."
CTV-London news video regarding contaminated soil and groundwater in old north London, Jan. 6
HERITAGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
BREAKING NEWS UPDATED: Another potential heritage battle looms on London's horizon, this time in old north in the Bishop Hellmuth Heritage Conservation District. Shell says not to worry
An AltLondon Exclusive, Thurs. Jan. 5
AltLondon has learned that 775 and 777 Waterloo Street (just north of Oxford Street, west side) in London have recently been sold to Shell Canada, since the soil and groundwater below the two properties is contaminated with petroleum products which leaked from the Shell station's corroded underground gas tanks (removed and replaced in 2005) at 316 Oxford Street East.
Here's a related government document about the environmental contamination and proposed soil remediation.
TEST BORE HOLES: According to Jason Lehouillier at the Ministry of the Environment, Southwest Regional Office in London, "Shell became aware of the problem in 2005 when they renovated the gas station and installed new pumps and [underground] gas tanks. Several bore holes in the two adjoining properties were dug down to the aquifer after that" to test the level of contamination.
He also says approval is pending for Shell's application but that it's not common to demolish buildings to remediate contaminated soil and water.
Noah Eade, a former Londoner who works for JB Water and Vacuum Services in Kelowna, British Columbia, says the Ministry of Environment document reveals that Shell Canada is "applying to start flushing the water in the ground via injection points in an effort to remediate the contaminated water [in the soil]," pursuant to section 34 of the Ontario Water Resources Act.
Asked whether this will require the demolition of the two buildings, he says "it could as one would not be able to guarantee the integrity of the structures ... it's also [potentially] dangerous to have tenants in the buildings while performing underground remediation on site."
775 Waterloo Street is the Murphy & Murphy Architects' building which was built in 1962 (designed by Ron Murphy) and has some architectural significance as a 1960s commercial structure with Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe influences (it was featured in Doors Open London one year).
777 Waterloo Street is a residential property designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and Part V of the Act ("Bishop Hellmuth Heritage Conservation District") ~ a building where the windows and doors were boarded up on Jan. 5 by a Toronto contractor on behalf of Shell Canada, with written guidance from building inspector Doug Carlson of the City of London's planning and building control department.
The three commercial tenants in 775 Waterloo Street are being forced to move by the end of February 2012.
Both buildings are in excellent condition but appear to be under threat of possible demolition since Shell Canada is not in the business of owning or maintaining heritage properties. A Shell spokeman, however, says both buildings will be sold once the two properties are cleaned up.
David Murphy of Murphy & Murphy Architects is the previous owner of both Waterloo Street properties.
Today's story by the London Community News HERE
Read a related article from the Vancouver Sun regarding contamination from gas stations HERE.
And another related article from The McLeod Report regarding demolition by neglect HERE.
BREAKING NEWS: MP Peter MacKay announces that he is now married, PM, Jan. 4
Electro-Motive Diesel Canada's final offer
Civic Meetings in London, ON, in January 2012
2012 World Juniors Hockey Results & Sked
The Death of Collective Bargaining? CL, Jan. 3
'Fracking' in Ohio causing earthquakes, USAT, Jan. 3
The cutting-edge, timely blog of Joe Ruscitti, editor-in-chief of The London Free Press (last updated on Nov. 16, 2010), LFP, Jan. 3
A committed newspaper man hard at work after cashing his pay cheque
BREAKING NEWS: Electro-Motive workers in London, Ontario, are now officially "locked out" by the company, EMU, Jan. 1
Electro-Motive Canada ~ Progress Rail ~ Caterpillar Inc.
Prepare for battle at Electro-Motive Diesel, LFP, Jan. 1, 2012
Corporate Greed in London, Ontario, Canada
LONDON CITY HALL
BREAKING NEWS: Mayor's 2012 New Year's Honour List
Mayor Joe Fontana is pleased to introduce the Mayor of London’s Honouree List for 2012.
This tradition began in 1976 and each year the names of deserving Londoners are brought forward by friends and colleagues.
London is a diverse city and its residents are compassionate and caring. The Mayor’s Honouree award provides recognition to those who go above and beyond and make a significant difference in our community.
The names and details of the individual’s service to the city is listed on the Mayor’s pages on the City of London website.
The Honourees are also invited to Council to accept their award and this year the Mayor will hold a special reception for the Honourees, just prior to his First Annual New Year’s Levee. The reception is set for January 1, 2012 ~ 1 pm to 1:45 pm at The Arts Project at 203 Dundas Street.
The Mayor’s New Year’s Levee will be held from 2 pm – 5 pm at the same location and is open to all.
The Honourees for 2012 are:
||Friday, December 30 2011 @ 05:49 AM EST
|THIS JUST IN (Dec. 30, 1 pm): The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) at Electro-Motive Diesel in London, Ontario, have voted 98% in favour of a strike ~ if necessary.
The actual vote was 404 to 9 (with 60-70 no shows).
The current collective agreement expires on Saturday, December 31st at midnight.
OPINION: There are many times in life when you have to stand on principle and this obscene contract offer is clearly made in bad faith.
Principles do matter, even if they put you out of work.
Otherwise we're all sheep and indentured slaves.
Does it matter if our laws are passed illegally? G&M, Dec. 30
The 2012 Mayor's New Year's Honour List will appear on AltLondon on Dec. 31 at precisely 12:01 am
Past honourees, 1976-2011
GLOBALIZATION: A Sub-Human Race to the Bottom of the Corporate Swish-Barrel
Another story on the labour dispute at Electro-Motive Diesel, DJ, Dec. 30
Harper government gave Electro-Motive plant significant tax breaks, LFP, Dec. 30
On December 20, 2011, The London Free Press ran the story, General Dynamics lands $126M order, at the same time Londoners were reading stories that Electro-Motive Diesel, an adjoining heavy-equipment manufacturer with a backlog of lucrative locomotive orders, was demanding its approximately 500 unionized workers in London, accept a 60-per-cent reduction in wages and benefits.
Subsequently on Dec. 27, Electro-Motive's final offer was a reduction in wages and benefits of 55-per-cent ~ from $35 an hour to about $16.50 an hour.
Today, Electro-Motive's workers are facing a lock-out/ strike vote as the U.S.-based company, Progress Rail Services Corporation ~ a subsidiary of conglomerate Caterpillar Inc. ~ has erected fencing around its manufacturing plant at 2021 Oxford Street East in London (Fencing goes up, fears grow, LFP, Dec. 28, 2011), with its collective agreement set to expire on Dec. 31, 2011.
It's also been reported that the company has already moved machinery out of the plant while a strike vote is scheduled for 10 am on Dec. 30 at the Marconi Club.
So, what's wrong with this picture?
||Wednesday, December 28 2011 @ 03:13 AM EST
BREAKING NEWS: London TV-news anchor released from jail, facing assault charges, am980, Dec. 28
BREAKING NEWS: Lockout or strike looming at Electro-Motive as company erects fencing, LFP, Dec. 28
Bernie Hammond resigns as coordinator of the Social Justice and Peace Studies program at King's University College
By Bernie Hammond, Ph.D., Sociology
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I have been receiving many enquiries concerning my changed status at King’s University College. While I appreciate the concern being expressed, I feel the need to correct certain inaccuracies:
I have not for the time being resigned from the Centre for Social Concern, my contract to teach in the Social Justice and Peace Studies program remains in place and I have not and do not have any intention of retiring in the near future.
What I have done is resign as coordinator of the Social Justice and Peace Studies program.
As many of you know, this program is the culmination of 36 years of work at King’s during which, in keeping with my service to a Catholic college, I used every opportunity to promote social justice work within the institution and in the community generally.
||Monday, December 26 2011 @ 01:22 AM EST
| Marc Emery's Christmas in The Joint, CC, Dec. 25
EYEBALLING THE FUTURE
Predictions for London, Ontario, Canada, in 2012
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: With an annual-psychic-batting-average of .977 during the past decade, here, once again, are my Top 10 Predictions for our burgeoning metropolis (wat dat?) in the new year.
Bellagio North®. 'Build it and They will Come.'
1. Mayor Joe Fontana and Ward 3 Councillor Joe Swan will abandon their proposal to whack us with a 1% "economic development levy."
They will, however, commence an aggressive campaign to build a $750-million hotel-casino-and-entertainment complex at the forks of the scenic Thames River.
Mayor Fontana, Joe Swan and Tourism London's general manager John Winston will champion the project by citing the "Wow Factor!" Think Taj Mahal on steroids.
The tentative name for the facility will be "Bellagio North®."
2. Councillors Steve Orser and Sandy White will announce their engagement early in 2012 but will subsequently split up citing "irreconcilable differences" regarding backyard chickens, Occupy London, the Glanworth Library and water fluoridation.
3. Ward 9 Councillor Dale Henderson will personally resurrect London's Big Band Music Festival at the London Convention Centre, promising to make London the "Big Band, Jazz and Swing Capital of the Universe."
||Saturday, December 24 2011 @ 04:16 AM EST
|THOUGHT DU JOUR: "If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten you path." ~ Great-Great-Great-Great Grandpappy Buddha McLarty
Former Tory cabinet minister Helena Guergis sues PM Stephen Harper et al., CBC, Dec. 23
PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO ALL
The Spirit of Christmas?
OH, BROTHER: Andy Oudman (pictured left) just blew a head gasket (Dec. 22) on 1290-CJBK-AM because he received a Christmas card from two local, Liberal MPPs (Deb Matthews and Chris Bentley), cards containing the phrase "Season's Greetings" etc. instead of "Merry Christmas."
Mr. Oudman's so upset, he indicated he'll be sending the Christmas cards back in the mail to the senders. Oh, brother.
Let's face it folks, the vast majority of Western society has been celebrating Christmas in a spending frenzy of consumerism with the mythical Santa Claus replacing Jesus Christ, the inspiration for Christianity, for more than 75 years.
But we're supposed to get bent out of shape and start foaming at the mouth because we receive a "Christmas card" in the mail that reads "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays"?
If someone's really interested in bringing positive change to this often chaotic and divided world ~ not merely promoting self-righteous hot-air and bafflegab ~ would they get hot under the collar when they receive a well-meaning Christmas card sent their way, one that wishes them "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays"? I don't think so.
So "have a good day," "take care," "have a cool Yule" and "a happy new year" (insert banality here!). And remember, "don't take any wooden nickels!"
Next item of importance, please!
Russia developing monster ballistic missile dubbed 'Satan,' TE, Dec. 21
Brazilian baby born healthy but with two heads, UKDM, Dec. 21
LONDON CITY HALL: Respected senior City manager suffers a heart attack at work
THIS JUST IN (DEC. 20, 5:15 PM): AltLondon has learned from a reliable source (since confirmed) that London's Executive Director of Planning, Environmental and Engineering Services Pat McNally (pictured above) had a heart attack in his city hall office early this morning (Tues. Dec. 20). Another staff member had found him in distress and and immediately called 9-1-1.
Mr. McNally's since had a "coronary stent" inserted at the hospital.
Mr. McNally was scheduled to do a presentation before the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee at city hall at 5:05 pm this afternoon regarding London's "2030 Transportation Master Plan Evaluation of Growth and Intensification Factors" but was unable to attend due to his sudden illness.
Mr. McNally recently announced that he will be retiring, effective the end of January 2012, but will remain as a consultant to the City of London until the end of 2012.
The above story is expected to be reported by the local mainstream media within a few days or sometime in the new year.
AltLondon wishes Mr. McNally a full-and-speedy recovery.
MUSIC VIDEO: Now charting in Melonville ~ Beans in My Ears, YT, Dec. 20
FREEZE-DRIED IN THE 1960s: Mayor Joe Fontana, Mayor-Wannabe Joe Swan and the ostrich-like Middlesex-London Health Unit support water fluoridation
CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT REDUX: Mayor Fontana is opposed to a public participation meeting on water fluoridation, LFP, Dec. 20
THIS JUST IN: Moncton, New Brunswick's city council has just voted 7-4 to end water fluoridation due to serious health concerns raised by citizens based on scores of scientific studies ~ including some which show that fluoride accumulates in human organs and tissue, rendering moot the Middlesex-London Health Unit's argument that London's low fluoride levels are not a concern.
In addition to Moncton, several Canadian cities ~ Calgary, Gatineau and Waterloo ~ have recently dropped fluoride from their water supplies, whereas Thunder Bay voted not to introduce it into its water supply.
How to be a real man, DB, Dec. 20
Why you should be concerned about water flouridation, FA, Dec. 20
Dr. Hardy Limeback is one of the leading Canadian authorities on preventive dentistry. The Middlesex-London Health Unit, not so much
London, Ontario, the Intellectual Hub of Southwestern Ontario, LFP, Dec. 17
MUSIC VIDEO: Get the Cake ~ Jeff Cake for Mayor!
Tory defence minister Peter McKay's got some 'splaining to do, CTF, Dec. 15
Forget about a pricey Downtown Disneyland®, it makes far more sense to use a special 1% economic development levy to reduce London's debt
From the City of London's 2012 Budget:
By the end of 2011 the anticipated total debt issued will be approximately $336.6 million.
The remaining debt that has been approved but not issued is estimated to be $254.3 million, for a combined potential debt of $590.9 million.
The continuation of an aggressive debt reduction program by Council could see the “authorized but not issued” debt reduced through allocation of surplus and other one-time sources.
However, by the end of 2012 the City's anticipated total debt issued is forecasted to be $370.5 million.
The remaining debt that has been approved but not issued will be approximately $228.4 million, for a combined potential debt of $598.9 million.
Debt Servicing Costs
Debt servicing costs on all projected debt issued (tax-supported, water, wastewater, reserve funds, non-rate supported) will total $60.3 million in 2012 and is anticipated to increase to $62.5 million in 2013.
. . . . . . .
N.B. According to Martin Hayward, city treasurer and chief financial officer at the City of London, "None of the issued debt is callable. Only the authorized but not issued [approximately $265 million] can be reduced by paying through cash sources and not issuing the [new] debt.
Scientists zoom in on the 'God particle' UKG, Dec. 14
Algonquins from West Quebec launch biggest land claim in Canadian history, OC, Dec. 12
City planning staff recommending some buildings be preserved at old South Street hospital, CoL, Dec. 10
Mayor Joe's 'honeymoon' is over. Think D-I-V-O-R-C-E, LFP, Dec. 7
A levy is a tax and a tax is a levy, according to the dictionary
levy (noun): an imposing or collecting, as of a tax, by authority or force.
tax (noun): a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
COMMENT: The only responsible way to debate the merits of a special economic development levy on taxpayers is to clearly identify in advance the specific project the levy will pay for. This would allow for transparency, public feedback and citizen engagement. That's not the case in London at the present time.
All Londoners have currently regarding the proposed levy is a "pig in a poke." In other words, we'd get hit with the levy and our council brain-trust would inform us later what it would be used for. Not good.
And to say we need to have a pot of money from the levy in place before we know what it will be used for (in case the federal or provincial governments suddenly provide matching funds for infrastructure projects) is Enron-style, financial thinking. Arrogance personified.
London has about $207-million in reserve funds for unfunded liabilities, contingencies and emergencies etc., some of which city council could use at its discretion by majority vote, for economic development initiatives.
But the absolute worst argument in support of the levy is this: "Since London's unemployment rate is 9.8%, we need to suck an additional $70-million from the pockets of taxpayers over the next five years in order to create job opportunities [for the development and construction trades]."
Gina Barber reports on London's first 2012 budget meeting, LCW, Dec. 6
Phil McLeod reports on London's first 2012 budget meeting, TMR, Dec. 6
CANADIAN BASEBALL HISTORY
Canadian baseball legend Ron Stead dies at age 75
By Kevin Glew
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
Intercounty League pitching legend, Ron Stead, (pictured left) has passed away at the age of 75.
He died at 6:15 p.m. ET last night (Dec. 5) after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.
Born in London, Ont., on September 24, 1936, Stead grew up in Toronto close to Maple Leaf Stadium.
“Where I lived in Toronto was right behind the Maple Leaf Stadium,” Stead told me in a 2006 interview.
“I climbed the fence one day and I saw a guy out there hanging out sweat socks and towels and went over and talked to him. And it was the trainer for Toronto, Bill Smith. I just started going over to the park when I thought he’d be out.”
The baseball-crazed youngster was anointed the Leafs mascot in 1946, before becoming the team’s batboy the following campaign.
||Monday, December 05 2011 @ 07:26 AM EST
|LONDON CITY HALL
BREAKING NEWS: Not only is London losing City Manager Jeff Fielding but also Executive Director of Planning, Environmental and Engineering Services, Pat McNally and Ron Standish, Director of Wastewater and Treatment
Click on the above image to hear a musical commentary about London city hall
At 7:30 am this morning on 1290-CJBK-AM, London's soon-to-be-gone City Manager Jeff Fielding freely admitted that London's Executive Director of Planning, Environmental and Engineering Services Pat McNally will be resigning in two months.
Subsequently this morning, I learned form a reliable source at city hall that Ron Standish, director of wastewater and treatment, will also be putting on the vanishing cream in two months.
Fielding's been city manager for eight years, McNally's been London's city engineer for about four years and Standish in his position for about six years.
So that's three top administrative staffers leaving near the start of London's 2012 budget process and Mayor Joe Fontana's second year of his four-year term.
So what's it all mean?
||Friday, December 02 2011 @ 07:26 PM EST
Tim Dobbie was well-respected in Burlington but retired due to health reasons
WOW: New interim City Manager Tim Dobbie (pictured left) is a former Burlington City Manager (where Jeff Fielding is going to become City Manager) and is also a consultant regarding London's governance. Say what?
Does re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic ring a bell? It should. I can hardly wait for that new beach at the forks of the Thames.
LONDON, ONTARIO, CITY HALL
BREAKING NEWS: London's CAO Jeff Fielding resigns, moving to Burlington, where the new, interim city manager came from ... Developing ...
The Corporation of the City of London
For Immediate Release ~ December 2, 2011
Mayor Joe Fontana announced today that he has regretfully accepted Jeff Fielding’s (pictured left) resignation from the City of London, effective January 29, 2012, as he moves on to a new position.
Mr. Fielding will take up the position of City Manager, City of Burlington, effective January 30, 2012.
“We are fortunate to have had Jeff as our City Manager for the last eight years. He has been a strong and determined leader of this organization and he has positioned us well to meet the challenges of the coming years,” said Mayor Fontana.