Sunday, November 22, 2009

What the Hell is Wrong with Windsor? 2

Windsor continues to have some of the most ghastly news you're ever going to hear. Here are more reasons why I'm happy I got out.

Neighbour's investigation led to child porn arrest [Nov. 18]
This is a horrible story - and good for the woman neighbour who did what was necessary to get a guy like this not only off the streets, but off the Internet as well. Unbelievable material. Seriously.

The woman called police, but she had no proof of what had transpired.

She got software to capture the communications and contacted Slade again the next day.

Showing his face on camera while fondling himself, Slade gave the woman enough ammunition to get himself arrested.

Slade was sentenced Tuesday to three years in jail. Getting two-for-one credit for the six months he spent in jail, Slade was sentenced to an additional two years in jail.

After his release, he’ll be on probation for three years.

What Slade’s neighbour learned about him from the initial two online communications in the summer of 2008 was the tip of the iceberg. When police raided the Bruce Avenue apartment Slade shared with his brother, they seized computer materials chock full of child pornography — 568 images and 165 digital movies he’d shared on line. They also found chat logs so graphic and disturbing, details were entered as an exhibit in court to avoid being read out loud.

Arsonists knock out cable, phone, Internet to thousands [Nov. 18]

WINDSOR, Ont. — Arsonists who torched two garages and a car early Tuesday also destroyed several fibre optic lines, knocking out Internet, phone and cable service to several thousand people across downtown and the west end.

Police said total damage from the fires, which all happened in the same area in central Windsor, is estimated at $100,000. It appears trash was used to fuel the flames.

Kildare House closes its doors [Nov. 18]
I almost had a job there at the Kildare - good thing I didn't stay in Windsor for them! Frankly, I won't miss this place - although a lot of people seemed to think it was awesome. I lived just about two blocks away for a year - the only time I went there during that period we got chased out by idiot-regulars who thought they were being heroes.

My first impression of the potential local haunt has already been chronicled - and I leave it at that. Good riddence.

WINDSOR, Ont. — The sudden closing of a Walkerville landmark, the Kildare House, was greeted with sadness Tuesday as news quickly spread — on the streets and online.

"I think it's sad. It's a loss for the neighbourhood for sure," lamented Joan Charette, co-ordinator of the Walkerville Business Improvement Association.

She and association president Jake Rondot expect to assess the situation and see what can be done to recruit a new business on-site.

The closing follows what's been a successful run for the association and its efforts to attract new business to the historic district.

"It hurts to see a mainstay go," Rondot said of the Kildare.

Opened about 10 years ago, the Kildare House, located at 1880 Wyandotte St. E. at Kildare Road, became known for its Celtic attitude, entertainment, patio and signature menu items that included fish and chips and deep-fried Mars Bars.

Violence rising in teenage relationships [Nov. 20] Not good - and never good to hear about. At least all these bad things are being uncovered and penalized. But I know that Hiatus House is a busy spot - meaning that there's a lot more of this going on than makes the papers.

AMHERSTBURG -- A 16-year-old Amherstburg girl has told police she suffered beatings at the hand of her former boyfriend in what some experts say is part of a growing trend of teenage domestic violence.

On Tuesday, Amherstburg police arrested the former boyfriend — who’s now 18 — on four counts of assault, one count of forcible confinement and one count of assault with a weapon.

All the charges stem from incidents that the victim says happened in the spring, when she and the accused were at the height of their 11-month romance.

Police $1.5M over budget [Nov. 20]
WINDSOR, Ont. -- Windsor’s police force is about $1.5 million over budget, and a city councillor says the chief culprit is pay equity legislation.

“The bottom line is you don’t have any choice,” said Fulvio Valentinis, a member of the police services board.

“This piece of legislation has wreaked havoc on this city. I don’t think the public realizes the ramifications.

“The pay equity commissioner has a lot of power to make rulings.

“There are only limited ways to deal with that.”

Higher than expected costs related to equity payouts for civilian employees ($600,000), workers compensation claims ($350,000) and overtime ($150,000) were largely blamed for the department’s year-to-date overspending, according to the city’s latest budget variance report, which includes numbers as of Aug. 31.

[...]

Other municipal departments showing shortfalls so far this year include the city’s engineering and corporate projects ($489,000), social support services ($470,000), Huron Lodge ($340,000) and legal department ($320,000).

Overall, the city is running a budget surplus of about $3.9 million over planned spending for 2009 of $710 million, according to the report. Savings of $5.7 million from this summer’s 101-day municipal strike are said to be not included in the numbers. [Really? That sounds great! They're rolling in money! I wonder who gets a bonus for having a surplus at the end of the year?]

[...]

Other noteworthy figures in the report include a surplus in corporate financial accounts thanks to $1.2-million higher-than-anticipated revenues from interest and penalties on tax arrears. [Hmm, so, people aren't even paying their taxes, but they'll surely pay the penalties and arrears you've charged them? Yeah, I wouldn't label all of that money as "collectible." In fact, didn't the last property the city assumed control of due to $3M in owed payments wind up costing the city $6.1M just to get the industrial property clean?]

The city’s building permit reserve account has a deficit of about $5.4 million because of low permit requests. City leaders are studying whether to substantially increase those fees and development charges.

So how could this happen? Why are the cops running out of money so quickly? ...

... Cops probing murder sift through 2,200 white Escalades to find theirs [Nov. 20]
Oh - they had to find a needle in a haystack.

WINDSOR, Ont. -- The discovery of a white SUV could be the break police need to end a daunting murder probe that has involved combing through thousands of vehicles, interviewing several dozen people and scouring at least three cities.

Police said Thursday they’ve have found the Escalade that witnesses saw speeding away after Mohamed Mohamed Yusuf, 23, was shot in the back on Sept. 27. It was Windsor’s fifth homicide of the year.

“This investigation has taken us to London, Toronto and back again,” said Staff Sgt. Norm Burkoski, head of the major crimes unit. “It has been an in-depth investigation and we continue to work at it. It ranks up there with the more complicated cases that we do investigate here. It’s quite a daunting task when you arrive upon a scene that’s an outside crime scene and there’s nobody left in the area.”

I'm glad they've got their man, though. People shouldn't be shot dead on the streets of Windsor. That's too scary to imagine.

Woman who taped ammo to ankles jailed [Nov. 20]

I know what you're thinking - who does that? Well, weapons smugglers do. She was arrested crossing the border - it's scary to think that anyone in a Honda might be smuggling guns or ammunition.

WINDSOR, Ont. -- A young Windsor woman who duct-taped handgun ammunition to her ankles before coming into Canada is in jail after being convicted this week of smuggling.

Charaith Holley, 21, came across the Ambassador Bridge on April 21 in a silver Honda. Border guards were on the lookout for the car after receiving a tip that it was involved in weapons smuggling.

When searched, Holley had 50 rounds of .25 calibre Winchester ammunition taped to one ankle and 20 rounds of 9-millimeter Luger ammunition taped to the other. Lugers are restricted weapons in Canada and .25 calibre handguns are prohibited.

Holley is not licensed to own either kind of weapon.

“It’s a pretty serious matter, coming into Canada with bullets taped to your ankles,” Ontario court judge Guy DeMarco said before sentencing the young woman to 30 days in jail.

And without getting into too many further details, else this post will be enormous, U of W instructor quarantined with TB. I think my wife had TB once - she was tested for it, and then never heard back from her doctor's office (he was on vacation, so someone else did the test). Months later, she went in for a check-up and the doctor asked, "So, how'd that pneumonia clear up?"

.... oh that's right, it was pneumonia - not TB. Never mind then.

Many local restaurants 'hanging by a thread' [Nov. 20]
I will never open up my own restaurant - only because you can be the best manager, the best chef, have the best service and all of that - and if the economy sucks, you're losing money for no good reason.

That being said - since the Kildare House announced its closing - it should be mentioned that:

WINDSOR, Ont. -- The closing of the Kildare House this week is a sad but hardly surprising sign of brutal business conditions, say members of the local hospitality industry.

“There’s a lot of restaurants out there hanging by a thread,” said Rick Williams.

“This is as tough as I’ve ever seen it,” added Williams, who’s been in the business 30 years and owns Williams Food Equipment, a large, independent foodservice equipment supplier based in Windsor.

“I’m surprised at the number of restaurants that have held on,” said Chris Ryan. A former downtown pub owner and restaurateur, he’s CEO of the new Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island organization.

“I’ve heard a few other places are close to closing,” agrees Marc McAfrey, co-owner with Don MacPherson of Cramdon’s Tap and Eatery in South Windsor.

“Everything’s down” and the Kildare’s closing in Walkerville reflects just the way it is, McAfrey explained.

Tough times have taken their toll.

In recent months, several higher-profile places besides the Kildare have shut down. They include the former Chatham Street Grill and Three... a Tasting Bar, both in downtown Windsor, Tecumseh’s Chop House and the former Murphy’s on Windsor’s east side as well as chain locations, including a Montana’s and Hooters and Outback Steakhouse.

Two places were torn down a year ago, the popular Patrick O. Ryan’s on Pitt Street East for a downtown bank building and the former Sandhill Tavern for a new Detroit River bridge access route from Highway 401.

“These closings were considered successful businesses,” Nada Jahn, who with her husband Wayne operates Meadows by the Lake near Amherstburg, said of news of the Kildare and former Chatham Street Grill.

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