Radio Western Morning News

NEWSCAST - Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Greg Bowman

Campus:

- Western University neuroscientist Adrian Owen has been named to the New Year’s Honours list as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Owen is British-born, making the accolade all the more special for him, considering the OBE is rarely given to scientists.
- Owen has spent the last 25 years working on breakthroughs in cognitive neuroscience. His work has been published in prestigious journals such as The Lancet, Nature, Science and The New England Journal of Medicine. He is perhaps best known for discovering that many brain-injured patients, previously believed to be permanently unresponsive are, in fact, conscious and aware.
- This year’s awards at this time of the year in Britain included damehood for model, actress and singer Lesley Lawson (aka Twiggy); a knighthood for record breaking cricketer Alastair Cook following his retirement from international cricket; and a knighthood for award-winning author Philip Pullman, for services to literature.
- Before assuming his Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at Western in 2011, Owen was a senior scientist and Assistant Director of the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
- Owen received his PhD in Neuroscience from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, England, and his B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of London. Owen’s OBE award will be presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II or her vice-regal representative at a special ceremony in early 2019.

Local:

- This past holiday season saw London’s emergency homeless shelters at full capacity across the city from Christmas Eve, all the way until New Years Day.
- London’s three main shelters hit an average of 100 per cent occupancy over the holiday period just weeks after the city’s family shelter cancelled its overflow program that put up families in motels.
- About 43 per cent of people who are using shelters are dubbed as “chronically homeless”, meaning they stay longer than 30 days. In 2011, that rate was 33 per cent.
- Each shelter also has overflow beds, and an additional set of crash beds are housed at Mission Services. The overflow beds did not exceed capacity over the holidays.
- Crash beds serve Londoners who may be barred from traditional shelter beds because of behavioural or other issues, often as a result of drug use. Capacity has hovered around 70 per cent since April. The overflow beds were put in place after a fall season of high demand.
- These beds are expensive to maintain, which is why some city councillors  suggest that municipalities like London will need provincial and federal government support to tackle the growing housing crisis.
- Last week, politicians and community leaders took aim at the Ontario government’s Housing Supply Action Plan, with a focus on reducing home prices and rental costs by increasing the supply of housing, but not necessarily affordable units.
- There are more than 3,500 families on the waiting list for a city-run unit with rent geared-to-income, and many others for whom rent is unaffordable or growing more so.
- Last month, the Rotholme Family Shelter, which was operating up to 200 per cent capacity, announced it would no longer house families in motels as stop-gap measure in 2019, saying the needs had grown too great and the practice wasn’t effective to allow families to access help and support services.
- The shelter is run by Mission Services, which said it would support any families still in motels after Jan. 1. That overflow has been steadily increasing since the announcement, and right now there are only a few families still in motels with 110 per cent capacity.

- London has made its first and most concrete steps in building a $58 million underpass on Adelaide Street.
- City council is getting ready to vote on the company that will come up with the design for the railway underpass, a long-awaited project expected to bring relief to drivers and pedestrians held up by trains crossing the major north-south artery.
- The plan has been in the works for a long time and was previously expected to take shape around 2030, but these recent steps have made it possible to break ground as early as 2021, and last about two years. This most recent step of choosing a company will help maintain this timeline.
- Adelaide is blocked by Canadian Pacific Railways (CP) trains several times every day, snarling traffic for the more than 25,000 drivers who use the route daily for more than 100 minutes.
- According to a report prepared by city staff, the detailed design for the project will cost about $2.4 million. Besides the underpass and road themselves, the design will include such elements as sewer work, road detours and streetscaping.
- City staff is also recommending council award the design contract to WSP Group, the same firm that conducted the environmental assessment for the proposed underpass.
- This will be an expensive project though, expecting to cost around $60-million, but it is also a project that is long overdue, justifying the price to councillors.
- CP is expected to pick up 15 per cent of the total $58.3-million cost. The roadwork is estimated to cost $10.8 million, with the rail structure pegged at $9.8 million. Sewer work, utility relocation, property acquisition and a number of other costs make up the remainder.
- Though temporary road closures are expected, included in the project is a two-lane detour meant to keep traffic flowing while construction takes place.
- This underpass will be a key piece of infrastructure that will improve traffic across London, especially if the city moves forward with the construction of the bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
- If approved by the committee next Tuesday, council as a whole will vote on choosing a design company at its Jan. 15 meeting.

Sports:

- Western's Men's Baseball team coach Mike Lumley has been recognized for his years of service to the London sports community by being named to the annual Mayor's New Year's Honour List.
- Each year, members of the community are nominated in ten categories of achievement to recognize the diversity of philanthropic work taking place in London.
- Lumley was drafted in the fifth round of the 1988 Major League Baseball draft by the Detroit Tigers.
- Mike retired after the 1993 season and returned to London where he started the London Badgers Baseball Organization.
- For his efforts and continued commitment to athletes in London, Mike Lumley has been named to the Mayor's New Year's Honour List 2019 in the category of Sports.
- Lumley will be recognized along with the other winners at the City Council meeting on January 15th.

Weather:

- If you’ve stepped outside today, I’m sure you’ve noticed some of the white stuff on the ground, we did receive about 3 cm of snow last night.
- High of 0 expected today with a mix of sun and cloud, with it dropping to -2 overnight so watch out for that ice.
- Your Friday will be an extra happy one, as we have a high of four with mainly sun all day.
- Saturday afternoon will be even nicer with sunny skies and a high of six, with a high of 2 and a mix of sun and cloud expected on Sunday.