Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What the Hell is Wrong with Windsor?

I've noticed that Windsor continues to have some of the most incredible news all the time. Nothing good ever seems to come out of there that isn't manufactured by the Mayor to "sound" like a good thing. For example, empty factories and unemployment numbers that lead the whole nation are "good" things to investors of the city because Windsor has "room to grow" and an "available work force." This is NOT good news - it is spin.

Another friend of mine has been reading the Windsor Star far more often since he's left the city and moved to Kitchener, and he seems to agree - the news is bad. So this is a new segment highlighting some of the news stories from the Star which I'm going to call, "What the Hell is Wrong with Windsor?"

Two Amherstburg men in U.S. jail after botched drug deal [Nov. 9]

Two Amherstburg men are in custody in the U.S. after their alleged late-night drug deal on a rural Michigan airport runway went awry.

Jesse Rusenstrom, 20, and Matthew Moody, 32, are charged with “possession with intent to distribute controlled substances” after authorities seized ecstasy and marijuana with an estimated street value of US$8 million.

Border agents became suspicious Friday when a Cessna plane flew into Michigan from Canada without following proper procedures, the Detroit Free Press reported. The agent followed the plane in a Blackhawk helicopter to the Sandusky City Airport, about 140 kilometres north of Detroit.

Advertising agency BBDO announces Windsor layoffs after split with Chyrsler [Nov. 9]

Windsor staff of worldwide advertising agency BBDO have received notice they’ll be out of their jobs at the end of January.

On Monday, BBDO Worldwide announced that it will close its Detroit and Windsor offices when the agency’s current contract with Chrysler ends on Jan. 26.

The move affects a total of 485 employees in Detroit and Windsor, about 80 of whom work in the Chrysler Canada building at the corner of Ouellette Avenue and Riverside Drive.

Roy Elvove, a spokesman at BBDO’s headquarters in New York City, said BBDO has had a relationship with Chrysler since 1944.

According to an agency statement, BBDO was informed by Chrysler in July that “they were not prepared to continue under the current contractual framework.”

Running out of work is a big problem in the city - so if you've got a job, you should A) be doubly thankful, and B) do it really well...
Ooops! Long rows of trees destroyed by mistake

LAKESHORE -- Residents are complaining that a row of mature trees more than a kilometre long has been bulldozed along County Road 22, west of the Puce River.

“There was no need to cut a swath like that,” said Coun. Ray Lalonde, who fielded numerous complaints. “That’s pretty disgusting.

Mayor Tom Bain said he raised the issue with the County of Essex and was told a subcontractor had made a mistake. Some dead trees were marked for removal, but all of them were cut down, the mayor said.

Lalonde said the row of trees helped keep snow and ice from building up on the heavily traveled county road, which connects to E.C. Row Expressway.

So the Coco Paving company saw a few marked trees (and I'm not saying its their fault - they're just the ones who did the job) and there was a gross miscommunication and they all got bulldozed. Not good, crew.

This lead to a follow-up article where Coco Paving begged to be understood - they did what they were contracted to do. The mistake wasn't theirs.

Another article from Friday is scary - and it has allot to do with what my book is all about:
WINDSOR -- A top Windsor cop is warning parents to be vigilant in protecting their children as criminal networks gain increasing footholds in the city, drawing young people into the drug trade and arming them with handguns.
Another article called Young people with guns shockingly common, cops says [sic] shows that kids are packing heat in Windsor now.

Deputy Chief Al Frederick said police are seizing more handguns than ever before in Windsor, and it’s shockingly common to find young people packing.

“This is everyone’s concern,” he said. “This is not just a police matter. The community needs to be alarmed.”

Frederick made the comments on the heels of a gunpoint arrest late last week. Gurfathe Kooner, 24, allegedly threw two semi-automatic handguns and ammunition out the window of his truck while tactical officers chased him. Police believe he was likely on his way to sell the guns.

My book presumed that the Toronto crack-down on drugs and guns would push crime into the peripheries of Ontario. However, what's going on in Windsor likely has more to do with unemployment and people turning to crime to make ends meet.

I didn't make a link a few days ago about an article outing delinquent tax payers that were millions of dollars in arrears to the city - and now I regret not doing it because it would fit with this article so nicely.

Toxic site seized by city could cost millions to clean up [Nov. 16]

WINDSOR -- In taking over an industrial property that represented Windsor’s largest delinquent tax account, the city has also assumed an as-yet-unknown, but potentially very costly, cleanup of an urban toxic zone.

The Star has learned a preliminary estimate pegs the reclamation cost at up to $6.1 million for the former WCA Canada Inc. property in East Windsor, seized Oct. 26 after accumulating more than $3 million in tax and interest penalty arrears.

But local taxpayers could be on the hook for even more. A consultant’s report says more study is required, particularly to assess whether chromium, a known carcinogen, as well as other metals and toxic pollutants are leaching off the 11-acre property at 9082 Tecumseh Rd. E.

“The concern to us was that doing nothing was not something we felt was advantageous,” said Mayor Eddie Francis.

The property, featuring a 165,000-square-foot factory building, lies southeast of the WFCU Centre.

$80 M Windsor Energy Centre at Caesars Windsor may be worth 'nothing': Report [Nov. 17]

Sounds like a bad investment, yeah?

WINDSOR, Ont. — The controversial Windsor Energy Centre, the $80-million power plant for Caesars Windsor that is the subject of a lawsuit against the province, may be worth nothing, a private and confidential report indicates.

The report, obtained by CBC News, was produced by Cole Valuation Partners Ltd. for management at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Entitled Windsor Clean Energy Centre -- Preliminary Financial Analysis, the highly technical report details the financial prospects for the centre under various scenarios as of Nov. 21, 2008.

Toronto forensic accountant Al Rosen told the CBC: "I can't say this is the worst I've ever seen, but it's certainly in that category and bad management is a suspicion."

He told CBC that if the report is accurate, it is possible the energy centre could be worth "nothing."

The report says that as of November 2008, the energy centre still required $7 million in expenditures to become operational, which was not expected to occur until January 2009.

Customs lookout list flagged subject of $2M cocaine bust

I don't want to appear like I'm picking on the city's administration - rather I'm just saying, in any given week, there is a lot of bad news that comes out of this city. Yeah, there could be lots of murders (which I don't want to start happening) but there are some many indicators that this city is circling the drain that it's scary.

In this instance, it's a very good job done by the police and the border to apprehend someone looking to enter the country with cocaine. Yeah, they're supposed to catch these people, but it's good to hear that they do catch them once in a while.

A Brampton man was the subject of a customs lookout when he carried $2 million of cocaine across the border in a lettuce shipment, a trial heard Monday.

Simarjeet Singh Buttar, 36, is charged with importing a controlled substance and possession of cocaine with the intent to traffic. He has pleaded not guilty.

Border services officer Steven Perduk said Buttar arrived at customs on Nov. 13, 2007, in a semi truck. His documents said he was carrying lettuce and berries from California to Toronto.

It's good to see that the man was convicted - even if this was two years ago.

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