St John teacher charged with sex assault on 13 y.o.

Orlando Fusaro

Toronto Police have charged Orlando Fusaro, a teacher at St John the Evangelist elementary school in Weston, with sexual assault. The police allege that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl during 2011, while he was her teacher. The relationship continued into the summer, according to the papers.

Police believe there may be more victims.

Detective Rick Ramjattan of 31 Division told the National Post

“The mother noticed changes and asked the daughter. The daughter then told her mother what was going on, then the mother went to the police.”

The Post says that Fusaro is claiming the affair was “consensual”.

 

Thanks to anon for the tip.

Bad news and worse news at St John school

There is bad news and worse news at St John the Evangelist Elementary School.

The bad news: St John is getting more portables, which will only add to the severe overcrowding problem on the grounds. In the fall, there will be 10 portables—the maximum possible, according to Dave Bennett, the Vice Chair of Parent Council. Staying positive, he says in an email newsletter that the new portables will reduce the number of classes held in the neighbouring church basement.

The worse news is that the overcrowding problem at St John will soon be solved, if Metrolinx gets its way. Dave Bennett says Metrolinx has asked the TCDSB to relocate 40% of the students—those in the portables—for three years, while the construction takes place starting in 2012.

The newsletter does not say where they could be moved to, but does say that building a new school while the construction is taking place would remove children from danger, keep the community together, and prepare the school for full-day kindergarten.

The administration at St John has been pressing for a new school built on the same grounds. Some progress has been made; according to the newsletter, the school is making its way up the funding list.

Councillor Nunziata Clarifies Her Comments

Few Weston Web articles generate the kind of response we received in the recent article ‘Nunziata Responds to Muggings’. As a result, Weston Web asked Councillor Nunziata some of the questions raised by readers.

In an exclusive interview, she clarified her comments about Chaminade College students and says her original words were the result of a ‘miscommunication’. She also acknowledged that the muggings at Weston and Lawrence were very unlikely to have originated from students at that school.

We discussed other matters such as why she will oppose future license applications for bars in Weston. Councillor Nunziata says she has no problem with applications being approved as long as there are conditions attached to ensure good behaviour; e.g. adherence to licensed hours and noise suppression. After a year these conditions would be lifted. She claims that there are too many licensed establishments along Weston Road and Jane Street already, and that some legitimately licensed establishments operate after hours too . She’s ‘had many complaints from residents.’ I asked if any licence applications ever come from deserving businesses and was told that as long as they agree to the conditions and have not caused problems in the past, they will not be refused a licence.

We returned to the topic of crime and the TAVIS initiative. I mentioned my pet peeve which is that while the TAVIS program has great potential and is a great asset to the community, officers tend to hang around in groups of three or more (let’s not call them gangs) and could cover more ground and have more contact with the community in smaller groups. Ms Nunziata replied that the grouping format was agreed to in the TAVIS meetings, as was the location of the surveillance cameras (which, perhaps, could have produced better results along Lawrence Avenue, since much of the crime seems to occur there).

Thanks to our readers for such a vigorous response.

St John (still) wants a new school

Dave Bennett, the Vice Chair of Parent Council of St John the Evangelist Elementary, sent around an email earlier this week again drawing attention to the conditions at  his school, and explaining how they are likely to worsen in the coming years. The school has six portables and little grass; in 2014, full-day kindergarten will make things much worse, he says.

Bennett says “building a new school during the construction of the Weston tunnel seems like the right path to remove our six portables, exclude our children from the tunnel construction and provide full-day kindergarten.”

In June of last year, Bennett backed a proposal to move St John the Evangelist to Swanek Park, which would have led to the expropriation and demolition of as many as 33 houses. That proposal led to significant strife in the community.

 

Design conference feedback released

A conference planning the future of Weston was held last month, and the report summarizing community feedback has now been released. It discusses 10 messages from the community, none of will surprise residents, but any of which, if acted upon, would make Weston a better place to live.

In short, the recommendations were:

  • Weston Road could be nicer if it had better design and more varied retail
  • The tracks and Lawrence are physical barriers that separate us
  • Weston is a culturally and economically diverse village, with few ties between communities
  • Don’t touch the Farmers’ Market, but make the surrounding area better; make the GO Station area better, too
  • Convince developers to pay for everything—don’t make taxpayers
  • Tall buildings are generally undesirable; rental high rises are especially undesirable
  • Community arts and spaces are good. A movie theatre would be good too.
  • Weston is not an intersection. It is a village with history.
  • The schools could use some help—especially St John, which is crowded and threatened by the train
  • Some parts of Weston feel unsafe

You can download the entire report, which has much more detail, here: Weston Charrette Community Feedback Summary

A proposed redesign of Weston Rd

June Fun Fair a success

Weston Memorial’s June Fair was a huge success. The school and volunteers raised about $6500 for school programming.

According to Cristine Ramos, an organizer, “everyone agreed that they have never seen the school yard so full of people and by everyone’s guesstimations it was the best attended fair in recent history.”

The weather was fantastic this year, and the schoolyard was a total zoo—appropriate, given the theme, “Go Wild”. Hundreds and hundreds of kids caused a wonderful ruckus.

The school raised money through a barbecue, a bake sale, jumpy castles, a raffle, and a silent auction.Many good people and businesses donated money and services to the fair. Jorge Ramos, from Financial IQ Camp Millionaire, deserves to be carried across town on the shoulders of the people for his donation. Sam Valentini and Paula Carrascalao deserve special mention for covering the cost of the bouncy castles. The Ontario Falconry Centre also donated their show.

The money raised at the fair will be used for “school trips and arts and science programs”, according to Ramos.

Thanks to Cristine Ramos for the photos