By Amanda Shendruk - Friday, April 12, 2013 - 0 Comments
A BMO report released this week reminds us just how much we all love Florida. It notes that more than 500,000 Canadians own property in the state (Canadians are the largest foreign buyers of Florida real estate), that Canada is Florida’s No. 1 source of foreign tourists, and that perhaps Canadian snowbirds played a significant role in pulling the recession-hit state from its post-2008 slump.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:50 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – A popular former Toronto day camp director and her husband, who were…
TORONTO – A popular former Toronto day camp director and her husband, who were spending the winter in Florida, were killed in a double homicide, police said Friday.
David Pichosky, 71, and Rochelle Wise, 66, were found dead Thursday evening inside their home in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Capt. Sonia Quinones of the Hallandale Beach Police Department said the bodies were found by a neighbour who used a spare key to check on the couple after they didn’t show up for a planned lunch.
Quinones said the cause of death and motive are still under investigation.
Wise was retired from a career dedicated to children and was remembered Friday as a mentor to many. She was the former director of Crestwood Valley Day Camp in Toronto from 1990 to 2005 and used to be a preschool vice-principal at Bialik Hebrew Day School.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, January 11, 2013 at 8:39 AM - 0 Comments
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The bodies of a Canadian couple have been found inside…
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The bodies of a Canadian couple have been found inside their townhouse in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
The Miami Herald reports the couple were discovered after a concerned neighbour found them inside their townhouse in the eastern Florida community between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Hallandale Beach police spokeswoman Sonia Quinones told the newspaper the neighbour had a key to the townhouse and went to check on the couple late Thursday afternoon.
The man and woman, believed to be in their 70s, had failed to show up for lunch with the neighbour on Wednesday and had not answered repeated phone calls.
Police, who were still at the home late Thursday, said the names of the victims would not be released until relatives were notified.
The Herald reports the couple was known to spend winters in Hallandale Beach.
— With files from The Associated Press
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM - 0 Comments
Remember Sarah Silverman’s Great Schlep? It was the year 2008 and the Jewish comedian implored her people—the American ones, anyway—to prove that Jews are in fact, the “scrappy, civil-rightsy” types they claim to be, by making the schlep to Florida (where old Jewish people are known to hibernate) and convincing their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama.
Apparently it worked. In 2008, Obama won Florida 51-48 per cent against Republican hopeful John McCain.
But things are different this time around. Obama is currently trailing competitor Mitt Romney by three per cent in the Sunshine State. And there’s a substantial amount of Republican politicking going in Florida Senior —Israel—a country with an American expat community roughly the size of Fort Lauderdale. The Republican Jewish Coalition has been very busy in the Holy Land, most likely trying to convince its brethren that the man who orchestrated the murder of Osama Bin Laden is soft on foreign policy, especially when it comes to Israel. No doubt Zionist casino magnate and Republican Daddy Warbucks, Sheldon Adelson feels this way: the eighth richest man in America has pledged to shell out $100 million to the Romney campaign.
Which means his grandchildren must have already made the Great Schlep and failed, because Silverman has ditched the schlep strategy in favour of another one: offering Mr. Adelson her body (though not all of it, she’s a “good girl”) in exchange for a $100-million donation to Obama instead of Romney…
So what’ll it be, Sheldon? Protect the Jewish state from neighbouring terrorists and a socialist president, or be the only major Republican donor to get scissored by a bikini-clad Jewess with big naturals?
It turns out not even billionaires can have it all.
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
In his riskiest venture yet, the former head of Magna International is becoming one of the state’s biggest cattle ranchers
The city of Ocala, Fla., was known as the Gateway to the Magic Kingdom until Disney closed its welcome centre six years ago. These days, the local newspaper has given it a new nickname: The Land of Stronach.
Since his exit from the helm of Aurora, Ont.-based auto parts giant Magna International, Frank Stronach has turned his attention away from the auto industry and toward the greener pastures of Florida cattle ranching. In the past two years, the 79-year-old has been on a buying spree, using nearly $80 million of the $856-million payout from selling his controlling stake in Magna to acquire huge swaths of land in the Sunshine State.
So far, Stronach has amassed about 70,000 acres—nearly three times the size of Disney World—making him Marion County’s largest private landowner. His plan is to open a massive grass-fed beef operation starting early next year, with as many as 30,000 cattle, a 61,000-sq.-foot abattoir that would slaughter up to 300 cows a day, and a biomass power plant that would extract methane from manure.
By Cigdem Iltan - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 7:35 AM - 0 Comments
A Florida town is cracking down on parking pickup trucks in public
Citizens of Coral Gables, Fla., who don’t keep their pickup trucks hidden in their garages at night will soon face fines—the first ticket will be $100, subsequent violations could be as much as $500.
The city established its ban on parking pickups both on the street and in driveways overnight in the 1960s. But enforcement of the contentious law was put on hold in 2003 when a man sued Coral Gables after officers ticketed him for parking his truck on a residential street. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against considering an appeal from the man, giving the city a green light to put the law into effect once again.
Enforcement officers will begin by giving out warnings, then tickets starting on Aug. 8, to residents who don’t hide their truck away between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. A city spokeswoman told the Miami Herald that the law is meant to preserve the bayside city’s character, citing Coral Gables’s attractiveness as one reason why property values stayed at a higher level than in neighbouring communities during the recession. But critics say the law is old-fashioned, as pickup trucks no longer only function as work trucks, as they did 50 years ago when the law was created.
By macleans.ca - Friday, April 8, 2011 at 11:02 AM - 0 Comments
Are the Vancouver Canucks the prohibitive Cup favourites?
A Canuck Cup fave?
The Vancouver Canucks captured the President’s Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top regular-season team, despite playing in the superior conference and suffering an unearthly skein of injuries to its defence corps. This marks the first time Vancouver has won the trophy, introduced in 1985. The Canucks dominated impressively in 2010-11, surrendering far fewer goals than any other team, running the best power play, and ranking second in overall scoring and penalty-killing.
Laurent Gbagbo, the strongman clinging to the presidency of Ivory Coast, faced a reckoning as UN and French armies intervened in support of forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, recognized internationally as the winner of a 2010 election. Peacekeepers entered Ivorian borders and airspace after Gbagbo’s militia began targeting civilian Ouattara supporters. The capture of the capital, Abidjan, soon followed. Gbagbo, trapped within a small perimeter around a personal bunker, was said to be negotiating a surrender.
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 landed safely at an airport in Yuma, Ariz., after a panel tore open and depressurized the cabin at 36,000 feet. Southwest, whose short-hop business model, say experts, is hard on airframes, inspected its fleet for metal fatigue after the mercifully inexpensive warning. Meanwhile, underwater robot vehicles operating off Brazil’s coast found wreckage from Air France Flight 447, promising new clues to a mysterious 2009 crash that killed 228 people.
Fries with that recovery?
In a gesture of faith in the U.S. economy, fast-food giant McDonald’s will hire 50,000 American personnel in a single day (April 19), expanding its U.S. workforce to 700,000. (McDonald’s Canada will add 4,000 workers the same day.) Of the 8.7 million jobs lost in the U.S. during the recession, only 1.5 million have been regained since 2009. “McJobs” is a byword for tenuous, low-paying work, but McDonald’s U.S.A. observes that half of its franchise owners and 75 per cent of managers started behind the counter.
Violence wracked Afghanistan after Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who backed down on threats to burn the Quran last year, followed through and immolated the holy book after a webcasted mock trial. Protesters stormed a UN facility in Mazar-e-Sharif, killing three staff and four Nepalese Gurkha guards; at least 17 more people, mostly Afghan civilians, died in further riots. The White House denounced Jones’s action as “un-American,” as did U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, who says his forces now face “an additional serious security challenge.”
A referee’s regrets
South African judge Richard Goldstone, who led a UN investigation into the 2008-09 Israeli invasion of Gaza, added a postscript to his 2009 report criticizing Israel and Hamas for war crimes. In the Washington Post, Goldstone wrote that he had hoped his report would introduce “a new era of even-handedness” at the often anti-Zionist UN. But he found that only the Israeli side followed up the report and investigated its own conduct; Hamas, meanwhile, continued unlawful attacks on Israeli civilians.
A nurse in Dartmouth, N.S., was reprimanded for poor handwriting, sparking a national debate about hospital records. Wilfred Gordon’s illegible scrawls on charts had been a problem “for many years,” declared a disciplinary panel of the province’s College of Registered Nurses, but he “had not successfully addressed the issue.” Gordon was ordered to take a course in documentation and will face penmanship reviews by a manager.
It’s bad for your arteries, too
Another mess in Nova Scotia emerged when a sewer backup in a Bedford neighbourhood proved to have been caused, in part, by bacon grease. A Halifax Water investigation into flooded basements in the Ridgevale subdivision revealed that clogs of fat and oil, accumulating at levels “more often associated with commercially zoned areas,” played a role in damage to five homes. Local homeowners were sceptical, and a councillor noted that in at least one case, it was steamers used by sewer workers to melt the grease that sent sewage blasting upward into a Ridgevale domicile.
By Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze - Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 9:40 AM - 1 Comment
More Canadians aren’t simply heading south for a holiday: they’re going to buy cheap property
Every year thousands of Canadians travel to Florida for a little fun under the sun. Yet with the U.S. housing market still sputtering from the fallout of the mortgage crisis, and the loonie at near parity with the greenback, more and more Canadians aren’t simply heading south for a holiday: they’re going to buy cheap property.
“The deals right now are phenomenal,” says Brian Ellis, vice-president of Florida Home Finders of Canada. “There is lots of stuff under $100,000 that used to be selling in the high $200,000 range.” Some 54,000 foreclosed homes are currently up for sale in the state, along with thousands of condominiums, and Canadians—the largest group of foreigners buying U.S. properties—are ideal clients for real estate firms. “They love the Canadian market as we have a stable economy, the best banks in the world, and we’re paying cash,” notes Ellis.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 1:20 PM - 0 Comments
One 75-km stretch of beach in Florida has the largest number of shark attacks in the world
Most people bitten by sharks in the shallow, murky water of Volusia County, on central Florida’s east coast near Daytona Beach, just feel a tug, and maybe some thrashing around their ankles. Then they look down to see one of their legs streaming with blood, pierced by dozens of puncture holes. It happens all the time on the 75-km stretch of coast, because Volusia County has the largest number of shark attacks in the world. Of 639 bites worldwide between 1999 and 2008, Volusia County had 135. That’s more than one-fifth of the entire world’s attacks, and about one-third of all attacks in the U.S.
“When you’re surfing on a wave you can sometimes even see sharks underneath you,” says Jeremy Johnston, a long-time surfer raised on the east coast of Florida, who’s had sharks bump into his legs, but has been lucky enough to avoid any bites. “You see one and you lie down, float on the board and go straight into shore. It’s scary.”
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 9:40 AM - 1 Comment
Eight day freeze wiped out two-thirds of the winter tomato crop
An eight-day deep freeze that hit Florida in January wiped out more than two-thirds of the winter tomato crop, causing prices to spike across the continent and some U.S. fast-food chains to eliminate or ration the juicy red vegetable (technically a fruit, according to botanists). In response, farmers rushed to fill the void and now, several months later, we’re in the midst of a massive tomato glut.
By Andrew Potter - Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 1:22 PM - 10 Comments
The subject of my magazine clmn this week is the hugely disappointing (and expensive)…
The subject of my magazine clmn this week is the hugely disappointing (and expensive) study, Ontario in the Creative Age, prepared for the Ontario government by Roger Martin and Richard Florida. The column speaks for itself, but two points worth adding:
1. It bears all the marks of having been conceived and prepared in a time when the economy was going ticky-boo and everyone thought that things would keep going upupup for the foreseeable future. To that extent, the study was on its way to obsolescence by the end of last summer. The authors made a bit of an attempt in the intro at making it relevant to the current economic climate, but it doesn’t work, and the report is a total period piece. It reminds me of the ending to Hunt for Red October that they had to film after the Soviet Union fell during post-production.
2. The fact that Martin and Florida were commissioned to do this bears all the marks of McGuinty’s utter dopeyness on the economic file. Read this piece and you’ll understand why.
The upshot: This study, and the $2.2 million it cost, is not the solution to Ontario’s problems — it is a symptom of them.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Friday, October 24, 2008 at 12:00 AM - 0 Comments
Technical glitches and partisanship may complicate U.S. results
The “butterfly” ballots of Florida’s Palm Beach County that snarled up the 2000 presidential election with their hanging, pregnant, and otherwise perplexing “chads” have since been replaced by optical scan cards—but a recent test during a local judicial election found that new machines that count them couldn’t come up with the same result twice. As early voting gets underway across the sprawling, decentralized American election system, technical glitches and pre-emptive partisan lawsuits are putting nerves on edge in anticipation of the record throngs expected on Nov. 4. In North Carolina, voters wanting to pick a “straight Democratic ticket” have to remember that they need to vote for Barack Obama on a separate presidential ballot. In West Virginia, some Democratic voters said touch-screen voting machines literally changed their votes from Obama to John McCain before their very eyes. The state’s deputy secretary of state Sarah Bailey told the Charleston Gazette on Friday, “Sometimes machines can become miscalibrated when they are moved from storage facilities to early voting areas.” She ordered a recalibration.
And the election lawyers have been mustering. A Democratic attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Charles Lichtman, has boasted that he will effectively lead the largest law firm in America on Nov. 4 when he commands close to 5,000 lawyers who will show up at the polls to assist voters, resolve conflicts, and if necessary, sue. Republican lawyers have sprung into action in Ohio, where they sued the secretary of state, Democrat Jennifer Brunner, to provide lists of voters whose registration information does not match information in other state databases. Brunner says most differences are due to clerical errors. (Even Joe Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber,” the now famous critic of Obama’s tax plan, has his name misspelled on Ohio voter rolls as Worzelbacher.) The case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which found last Friday that the state party did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. No matter, others are in the works.
Distrust permeates the system. Part of the Obama campaign’s strategy is to register legions of new voters—especially among young people and African-Americans, who tend to vote Democrat. Republicans are suspicious of the groups doing the registering. One such group, ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, handed in registration forms with some false names such as Mickey Mouse and addresses that turned out to be empty lots. The group, which is obligated by law to turn in all the forms, blamed low-wage workers trying to make more money by padding their numbers. But the FBI is investigating, and during the last debate McCain accused ACORN of “maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” He could be right—if Mickey actually gets to cast a ballot.
It was all supposed to be better this time. After the debacle of 2000, Congress passed a federal law, the Help America Vote Act, to avoid similar mishaps. It included money for new machines to replace problematic systems such as Palm Beach County’s punch-card butterfly ballots, and a system that would allow voters who believe they are wrongly deemed ineligible to cast a provisional ballot and have their cases resolved after the election. But as it turns out, since 2000 things have gotten messier. Before George W. Bush vs. Al Gore, an average of 96 lawsuits involving election law were filed each year; since 2000, the annual average has more than doubled to 231, according to Richard Hasen, an election law expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “The system wasn’t good before 2000, but in some ways it’s gotten worse,” he says. “Part of the problem is more people are looking for problems. Litigation has become an important piece of campaign strategy for both campaigns.”