Radio Western Morning News

NEWSCAST - Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Greg Bowman

CAMPUS:

  • Physics and Astronomy professor Robert Cockcroft created an Indigenous astronomy course that will share the principles of astronomy through traditional Indigenous sky stories. Debuting this fall, it would be the first such course offered at a Canadian university.
  • Cockcroft says the course’s intent to “move forward and decolonize academia.”
  • His inspiration in developing the course began in 2014 when he helped develop an Indigenous sky lore presentation as manager of McMaster University’s planetarium. When he came to Western in 2016, the U.K.-born Cockcroft kept that passion for wanting to bring an Indigenous focus to his department.
  • Cockcroft plans to co-facilitate the new course, Two-Eyed Seeing and Astronomy, where he will share principles of astronomy through traditional Indigenous sky stories. The course will include many Indigenous voices – be it Indigenous members of the campus community or elders in local communities.
  • Social Sciences students Brianne Derrah and Sasha Doxtator are also helping develop the course.
  • Beyond the moon, there are also star lore stories in danger of being lost due to the wide-ranging excesses of the Indian Act that took away control of education, language and much more.
  • For example, Doxtator only recently learned of a story related to the Milky Way as ‘the path, which generally states that when babies are born they come down the path of the Milky Way to Earth, then travel back up when they die.
  • As Cockcroft continues to work towards the first class this fall, he is channeling the nervousness around such an endeavour into building the excitement of where this could go.

LOCAL:

  • A backlog of nearly 5,000 families needing a new place to live, and a wait that can stretch as long as a decade.
  • London is in the midst of an alarming housing crisis, one advocate told politicians bluntly on Monday, pleading for urgent action and cash as city staff gave a slew of updates on housing initiatives.
  • Margaret Wills, the head of the Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre, presented startling numbers to highlight what she described as an emergency akin to a flood or tornado.
  • Backed by a list of more than 25 other London agencies and individuals, Wills took a shot at city hall’s long-term efforts to address homelessness and a housing crunch – a five-year plan that’s expected to come to council in a few months.
  • She suggested council pony up cash for short-term motel stays or offer a city property with washrooms for an “urban encampment,” instead of moving along homeless people who are “sleeping rough” around London, especially in the core.
  • City hall officials confirmed 4,917 households are on the waitlist for rent-geared-to-income units or other non-profit and community housing, a growth of 70 per cent during the last two years. Of those on the waitlist, 142 are deemed “special priority” because they’re fleeing violence.
  • A whopping 932 people waiting are homeless. They fall into a high-priority category as well.
  • For those who aren’t at the top of the waitlist, getting into rent-geared-to-income housing can take seven to 10 years.
  • Politicians on the community and protective services and planning committees received other housing updates, including a report that highlights nearly $14 million expected from senior levels of government during three years. That keeps pace with government contributions in previous years, money that will be spent on rent subsidies, renovation grants for low-income homeowners and fixes for public housing units in desperate need of repairs.
  • The committee stopped short of taking Wills’ suggestions, instead asking staff to report back on the total bill for fixing public units that can’t be occupied until necessary repairs are made.
  • Coun. Shawn Lewis put forward the motion to find out exactly how many public housing units are vacant due to backlogged repairs and what it would cost to repair them.
  • In addition to the five-year homeless prevention and housing plan, city hall is working on a variety of housing projects. Staff in the planning department will be preparing a budget request for the 2020-2023 multi-year budget to fund its work into affordable housing “tools” such as inclusionary zoning that would require developers to include a certain portion of affordable units in their projects.
  • But budget pressures already have sparked fiery discussions at city hall, where council endorsed 2.7 per cent tax hikes as a reasonable target for the next four years. Based on provincial downloading, that rate would not allow for new projects.

SPORTS:

  • The London Jr. Mustangs were perfect this past weekend, with all six of their teams earning victories.
  • The atom team beat the Hamilton Jr. Tiger-Cats 59-28, the 9 on 9 peewee team beat the Claringotn Knights 40-0, the 12 on 12 peewee team won over Cambridge 62-8, the Bantam team beat the Vaughan Rebels 41-8, the junior varsity team topped the Kingston Jr. Gaels 35-14 and the varsity team also beat Kingston 24-14.
  • The atom and peewee teams are finished their regular seasons, while hte bantam, jv and varsity teams all have two more games remaining on the schedule.

WEATHER:

  • High of 24 today with a mix of sun and clouds but feeling more like 28.
  • It will be around 14 tonight with the humidity cutting slightly.
  • Tomorrow will see a high of 26 with a chance of showers in the afternoon.
  • Then Thursday we have an expected high of 20 with showers throughout the day.