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Ottawa LRT maintenance group announces new CEO as train faces first snow day with riders

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After a tough month for Ottawa’s new light-rail transit (LRT) system, senior city officials on Tuesday appeared to welcome a senior leadership change within the group contracted to build and maintain the Confederation Line.

In a memo sent to the City of Ottawa’s top manager, who in turn distributed the document to members of city council, Rideau Transit Group said that as of Nov. 11, its CEO, Peter Lauch, is now serving as head of its maintenance division, Rideau Transit Maintenance.

“Rideau Transit Group (RTG) and Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTM) have taken important steps to continue our transition from build to operations,” the memo from RTG said.

“Mr. Lauch has worked on the Ottawa light-rail transit project since 2013. His extensive experience coupled with his knowledge of the City of Ottawa and its light-rail transit system will serve as an asset during this transition period.” Story continues below advertisement 2:03 Politicians, media ride LRT trains ahead of Confederation Line’s handover to city Politicians, media ride LRT trains ahead of Confederation Line’s handover to city

After blasting the Confederation Line’s rocky performance in recent weeks, senior city officials appeared to respond positively to the move on Tuesday.

City manager Steve Kanellakos — who last week told the transit commission that RTM has “failed the city and its residents” — said that the group is “implementing changes that puts renewed focus on improving LRT service in Ottawa.”

“As a private and independent company, decisions regarding leadership are at the purview of the board of directors. However, I am hopeful that, Rideau Transit Maintenance will bring forward solutions to quickly resolve issues that have been felt by residents across the city since the launch of full-service in October,” Kanellakos wrote in his own memo to the mayor and councillors.

“The City of Ottawa is committed to delivering an exceptional transit system to our residents. We will work closely with Mr. Lauch and his team to make sure this happens.”

In a statement sent to Global News via email, a spokesperson for Mayor Jim Watson said the mayor “is pleased to see that RTG is taking the necessary steps to address the ongoing operational issues with LRT.”

“The mayor looks forward to RTM finding solutions to these issues, which have put a great deal of stress on transit users across the city,” the statement said. Story continues below advertisement

News of the managerial change came as the Confederation Line faced its first full day of carrying passengers through the snow — a day that ultimately didn’t pass by trouble-free. 1:09 Exciting and ‘emotional’: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson describes how LRT launch day feels Exciting and ‘emotional’: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson describes how LRT launch day feels

No train delays were reported during the morning commute on Tuesday, but a stopped train at Cyrville station towards the eastern end of the line forced OC Transpo to call in replacement bus service between St-Laurent and Blair stations at around 3:40 p.m. during the afternoon rush hour.

Several pictures posted to social media showed commuters lining up in the cold waiting to board a replacement bus. OC Transpo reported at 4:53 p.m. that “full service” on the Confederation Line had resumed.

Councillors call for restored bus service on social media

Councillors Jeff Leiper and Catherine McKenney, the latter of whom sits on the transit commission, later tweeted that they want to see cancelled bus service restored.

“I feel horrible for commuters tonight delayed in the cold by another train failure,” Leiper tweeted. “It’s time to bring back the suburban routes until some period of virtually flawless performance is achieved.”

Leiper called on the mayor to initiate discussions on the proposal. A third city councillor, Carol Anne Meehan, tweeted that she agreed with her colleagues.

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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair

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Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
Industry: Government
Age: 27
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $75,300
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,930
Gender Identity: Woman

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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing

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An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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