Gore Park washrooms revisited

Gore Park in downtown Hamilton is home to an unlikely time capsule. As the city begins a major renovation above the park, the old underground washrooms are being excavated.The public washrooms were shut 30 years ago. The entryways were incredibly steep and they were becoming too difficult to maintain and monitor. However, they do house some electrical equipment that needs to be rerouted, resulting in the dig.Crews had expected to find rubble but instead found a slice of Hamilton history.They were built in 1913 for $23,000 ($4,400 over-budget) after a city-wide referendum. They were the peak of luxury at the time under two barely noticeable entryways featuring marble stalls, honey comb tiles and brass fittings.In 1981, they were voted Canada’s best public washrooms by “Today Magazine.”But just three years after earning the distinction, they were permanently shuttered, toilet bowls in all.Only now, as the city begins the renovation in the core, is a glimpse at how they’ve weathered the years available.The floor is covered in debris and paint is peeling overhead but the century old lavatories have remained remarkably intact.The original construction plan was to fill the cavity where the washroom lie but it’s much larger than crews expected so they are back to the drawing board. Contract Inspector Jeff Harris was one of the few people allowed underground. He hopes the city is able to preserve some of the beautiful materials down there. read more

Hamilton man taken to hospital after motorcycle runs into curb

Hamilton police are investigating a crash that threw a man off a motorcycle in East Hamilton last night.The man was riding a 2008 Triumph motorcycle on King Street East when he reportedly lost control and hit a curb near Main Street East around 7:30 p.m. last night. He was then thrown from the bike.A 25-year-old Hamilton man was taken to hospital with serious injuries, where he remains in stable condition.Police would like to speak with the driver of the four-door white sedan that was in the area at the time of the crash. Police are asking the driver of the sedan and anyone with information to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at (905)546-4753 or (905)546-4755. read more

Privacy commissioner opens investigation into Capital One data breach

The Canadian Press OTTAWA — The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada says it is investigating a data breach at Capital One that has affected six million Canadians after receiving complaints from customers.It says Capital One contacted the office about a breach in which personal information, including one million social insurance numbers, had been accessed without authorization.The company has said it would notify affected individuals by letter or email next week but would not telephone customers.It says people receiving calls from someone claiming to be from Capital One should not provide any information, including account information or social insurance numbers.The breach also exposed the data of roughly 100 million U.S. clients, including about 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 linked bank account numbers.In addition to credit card application data such as phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth and self-reported income, the hacker was also able to access credit scores, credit limits and balances, as well as fragments of transaction information from a total of 23 days in 2016, 2017 and 2018. read more

Feds charges 11th person in ongoing UAW corruption probe

DETROIT — Federal prosecutors in Detroit have filed charges against an 11th person in an investigation of corruption in the United Auto Workers.Jeff Pietrzyk is charged with conspiracy. He’s accused of accepting at least $70,000 in 2013-14 from a chiropractor who was paid millions of dollars to make watches for General Motors workers. Investigators also say Pietrzyk was a middleman who passed cash to someone identified as Union Official 1.The charges were filed in a document titled criminal “information,” which means a guilty plea is likely. The new case was filed Friday on the fifth day of the UAW’s strike against GM. The name of Pietrzyk’s attorney wasn’t immediately known.Pietrzyk was a senior union official who worked closely with Joe Ashton, now retired as a UAW vice-president.The Associated Press read more

Manulife reinsuring business hiking dividend buying back shares

Manulife Financial Corp. says it is reinsuring some of its businesses and boosting the company’s quarterly dividend by 14 per cent.The insurance firm says it has entered into agreements with counterparties to reinsure substantially all of its legacy U.S. individual and group pay-out annuities businesses, and mortality and lapse risk on a portion of its legacy Canadian universal life policies. These transactions are expected to release over $1 billion of capital over the next year.The dividend payout — which is coming a quarter earlier than in recent years — will increase by three cents per share to 25 cents, payable as of Dec. 19 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Nov. 30.Manulife shares jump after Saskatchewan rule change lowers risk of hedge fund lawsuitManulife faces investor backlash over failure to disclose side accounts court caseManulife launches Canada’s first medical marijuana program with Shoppers Drug MartThe Toronto-based company also says it has received TSX approval to repurchase up to 40 million of its common shares or about two per cent of the nearly two million shares outstanding.The announcements were made ahead of Manulife’s release of third-quarter results after markets close next Wednesday.Manulife’s shares have fallen about 25 per cent from their 52-week high.The company, which operates mainly as John Hancock in the U.S. and Manulife elsewhere, had more than $1.1 trillion in assets under management and administrations. read more

Canada Post asks for halt to international shipments as parcel backlog grows

OTTAWA — Canada Post has asked its international partners to halt mail and parcel shipments to Canada as it reels under the weight of a 30-day delivery backlog resulting from a labour dispute with its employees.The Crown corporation said Friday that its domestic customers are also backed up with packages waiting for delivery as rotating strikes that began Oct. 22 continue across the country.“The backlogs are also extending to international mail and parcels entering the country,” Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said in an email.“As a result, we have been forced to request that international posts, including the United States Postal Service, refrain from shipping items until we can clear the backlog.”Canada Post strike having ‘critical’ impact on retailers, eBay says, as massive backlog of shipments piles upCanada Post suspends delivery-time guarantees as more rotating strikes strand packages150 trailers of mail pile up as Canada Post strike shuts down country’s biggest processing plant againBritain’s Royal Mail, in a bulletin to its corporate customers, said it would hold any shipments bound for Canada within the last couple of days in its distribution centres “awaiting further updates.”“As a result of ongoing industrial action, we have now been requested to suspend the dispatching of international traffic destined for Canada, from today until further notice,” it said.“This applies not only to us, but all international postal operators,” the Royal Mail added.A similar bulletin was issued by Hongkong Post and online sales giant eBay said it also received a notification from China Post that it was halting deliveries.Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have been in contract negotiations for nearly a year, with no success.CUPW began rotating strikes across the country that have shut down postal operations in over 200 communities, hoping to pressure Canada Post into agreeing to contract demands, including better job security, reduced workloads and stronger health and safety measures.The walkouts have resulted in backlogs at the agency’s main sorting plants, particularly in Toronto where Hamilton said the number of mail-filled tractor trailers awaiting processing had reached 407 as of Friday. Dozens of trailers were also sitting idle in Montreal and Vancouver.The Crown corporation issued new contract offers this week aimed at reaching agreements with its approximately 42,000 urban employees and 8,000 rural and suburban carriers.CUPW said the latest proposals made positive steps, but not enough to put an end to walkouts, which rotated Friday through most of Manitoba, as well as communities in Ontario, B.C., Alberta and New Brunswick.The offers were time sensitive, with Canada Post imposing a deadline of Saturday at one minute before midnight for acceptance.CUPW national president Mike Palecek wouldn’t say whether tentative deals could be reached by then, but said the union would not be held to an arbitrary deadline.Palecek was also critical of Canada Post for halting shipments from outside Canada.“There is no reason to halt international shipments,” he said in a statement. “Let us solve our issues at the bargaining table.”The union said it wants concrete proposals for dealing with an escalating number of work injuries at Canada Post.Hamilton said the corporation has proposed a way for the company and union to work together to identify ways to make the workplace safer, and offered to fast-track a review of workloads to reduce overburdening of carriers who have seen a rapid increase in the number of parcels they have to deliver while letter volumes have declined.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned last week his government will act to end the rotating strikes if there is no significant progress in the negotiations. Trudeau did not specify what type of action might be taken, nor did he provide a timeline.Earlier this week, eBay called on Trudeau to legislate an end to the dispute in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events tied to American Thanksgiving that begin Nov. 23. read more

WatchOilsands greenhouse gas emissions are being significantly underestimated new study suggests

New federal research suggests greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s oilsands may be significantly higher than industry reports.In a study published Tuesday, Environment Canada scientists say four major oilsands mines are releasing an average of about one-third more carbon dioxide per barrel of oil than they report — a crucial number used for everything from determining national emissions levels to calculating carbon tax.Lead author John Liggio and his colleagues analyzed air monitoring samples captured in a series of flights above the four sites during the course of a month in 2013.Suncor’s facility was 13 per cent over its estimated emissions. Build pipelines, scrap carbon tax and battle protesters: That’s what Kenney vows to do for Alberta’s oilpatch ‘A made-in-Canada crisis’: How political stumbles, savvy activists brought the oilpatch to its knees Exxon sued in U.S. for allegedly lowballing Alberta oilsands’ carbon costs But the emissions intensity of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s Horizon and Jackpine mines averaged 37 per cent higher than they reported. And Syncrude’s Mildred Lake mine was emitting two-and-a-quarter times more of the climate change-causing gas than it told Ottawa’s pollutant registry.“We find a pretty significant difference,” said Liggio, whose paper is published in Nature Communications.Until now, all carbon dioxide emission estimates from the oilsands have been based on a combination of some ground measurement and a great deal of mathematical modelling — so-called bottom-up estimation.The new study is the first to use actual field measurements taken from aerial overflights, or top-down measurements.The findings of industry underestimation echo those of a previous Alberta study, which found methane emissions from heavy oil facilities were much higher than thought. They also agree with many other studies that have compared bottom-up to top-down.“There’s still more work to be done,” Liggio said. “But I will say there are many, many studies using top-down approaches which have also shown that top-down (measurements) are generally higher.”The measurements in Liggio’s paper include emissions from mining, processing, upgrading and tailings ponds.Industry has criticized such flyover measurements for only providing a snapshot of emissions instead of long-term data.Liggio defends his work, saying that measuring emissions against oil production evens out sudden spikes resulting from higher output.“We’re looking at what they emit relative to what they produce,” he said.He said his team is currently analyzing data from similar overflights conducted to measure oilsands emissions in two different seasons.Industry has had a chance to comment on the paper, said Liggio.“Generally, industry was positive and supportive. They do want to work together to get to the bottom of where the discrepancies are coming from.”Liggio said the apparent problem at the four sites in the current paper could point to an issue throughout the industry. He adds the apparent underestimates occurred despite the fact the mines studied were using strict United Nation’s measurement protocols.“The results indicate that overall (oilsands greenhouse gas) emissions may be underestimated and suggest that reporting that follows this Tier 3 approach may universally underestimate CO2 emissions,” the paper says.Researchers don’t yet understand why top-down measurements tend to be so much higher than bottom-up estimates, Liggio said.“In a complex facility like the oilsands, there are hundreds of sources, hundreds of stacks. It’s quite complicated.”— By Bob Weber in Edmonton read more

Police blotter Edible cannabis at Holy Trinity

A teen was charged this week after officials at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Simcoe discovered infused edibles on the premises.Police were called to investigate Wednesday morning.A 17-year-old Norfolk youth has been charged for under-aged possession of cannabis contrary to the Cannabis Control Act.Apartment trashed in SimcoeNorfolk OPP remind the public to call in suspicious activity as soon as possible after the force was alerted to a badly damaged apartment in Simcoe.Between July 15 and July 22, someone or a number of people entered an apartment on Metcalfe Street South and trashed the premises.“Unknowns entered an apartment and tore up and urinated on rugs inside,” Const. Ed Sanchuk of the Norfolk OPP said in a news release. “Several holes were punched in the drywall in various rooms and then spray painted with graffiti.”Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to contact the Norfolk OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Information can also be shared, in confidence, with Crime Stoppers of Haldimand and Norfolk at 1-800-222-8477.Callers to Crime Stoppers who help solve a crime are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.Night creeper pinches purseA Simcoe household received a stark reminder this week that it is a good idea to lock your doors at night before turning in for the day.A resident of Bell Street alerted police to a theft around 3:45 a.m. Wednesday.An investigation determined that someone entered the residence through an unlocked door and made off with a purse and a wallet containing personal and financial information as well as a large amount of cash.Norfolk OPP are investigating.Gas siphoned near Silver HillGasoline spilled in a driveway was a dead giveaway this week that someone had siphoned fuel from a vehicle near Silver Hill.The theft occurred at a home on Forestry Farm Road. The incident was brought to the attention of police Wednesday evening.An investigation determined the fuel was removed from a vehicle with a siphon. A quantity of gasoline was spilled in the driveway while the responsible party made their getaway.Norfolk OPP are investigating.Coins, laptop stolen from homeLoose change with an estimated value of $120 and electronics were taken from a home in Simcoe this week.The theft occurred sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Tuesday at a home on Norfolk Street South.Also stolen was a laptop computer and an iPad.Police have determined the thief gained entry through an unlocked door. Norfolk OPP are investigating.SUV stolen in Port DoverA sport utility vehicle was stolen in Port Dover this week.The theft on Main Street was reported to police around 2 a.m. Thursday.The missing vehicle is a grey 2009 Pontiac Torrent. Also taken during the theft was a wallet containing personal and financial information.Norfolk OPP are investigating.Bicycle thieves on the prowl in SimcoePolice responded to two reports of stolen bicycles on Norfolk Street South in Simcoe Wednesday.The first report came around 8 a.m. Taken from an unlocked shed was a red Giant Roam 1 valued at approximately $400.Around 3 p.m., police received a report of a stolen Huffy BMX-brand bicycle. The bike’s estimated value is $170.Norfolk OPP are investigating. Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact the local force at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers of Haldimand and Norfolk at 1-800-222-8477.Callers to Crime Stoppers who help solve a crime are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.Driver blows past busPolice would like to speak to the driver of an orange Honda that blew past a stopped school bus near Langton this week.The school bus driver reported that the vehicle passed by even though the bus was stopped, its stop sign was extended, and its red warning lights were flashing. The incident occurred around 4 p.m. on West Quarter Line Road in South Walsingham.“This was a very dangerous act that could have had fatal consequences if an innocent child had been crossing the roadway,” Const. Ed Sanchuk of the Norfolk OPP said in a news release.“Police remind all drivers to slow down and pay attention to the roadway. Drivers approaching a stopped school bus from the front with its overhead red signal lights flashing shall stop in front of the school bus and not pass until the signals are turned off and the bus moves.”The owner of a vehicle that illegally passes a school bus can be charged with an offence even if the driver of that vehicle can’t be positively identified.Fines for a first offence range from $400 to $2,000. Fines for subsequent offences range from $1,000 to $4,000 and may warrant jail time. Those convicted of this offence are also assessed six demerit points against their driver’s licence.“The law is in place to protect our most valuable resource – young children,” Insp. Joe Varga of the Norfolk OPP said in a news release.“Passing a stopped school bus is not only against the law, it is a potential lethal decision. Taking a few extra minutes behind a stopped school bus can prevent life-long regret of injuring or killing a child.”Charlotteville thief cashes in A thief came away with a large quantity of cash after a purse was stolen from a vehicle on Charlotteville Road 10 this week.The theft was reported to police Wednesday. The vehicle was parked in the driveway of a home when the purse was taken.Norfolk OPP are investigating. read more