Library board offers patrons staff-free extended hours

While she’s had a library card since she was a child, Marina Phillips-Anderson has never used the Todmorden library on the Pape Avenue. However, with a proposal to keep the library open additional hours coming this fall, that could change.

A pilot project for the Todmorden and Swansea Memorial libraries to extend their open hours will keep the libraries open as late as the community centre itself. The two branches have the lowest number of hours open to patrons, and although the proposal calls for extra hours of operation, librarians will not be present during those extended hours.

“I think it is a great idea,” Phillips-Anderson said. “Libraries are safe havens for people.”

Putting a face on voicelessness

It’s the holiday season and the homeless shelter at Yonge and Sheppard is eerily empty. The majority of the women and girls who usually populate the YWCA have left to join their families. Except for Elisheva Passarello. She walks the halls by herself once again; it has been five years since she has seen her son, let alone spent a holiday with him.

“What was hard was homeless people often have someone; I had no one, not even my own son,” Passarello said. “What’s more difficult was that he didn’t have me.”

Amy Moledzky and John Rutledge with daughter Ava

Family learns to cope with post-natal depression

John Rutledge felt overwhelmed. He had experienced the sleepless nights, changing diapers, finding that one bit of furniture not yet “child-proof.” After his daughter Ava was born, Rutledge became even more stressed and anxious, to a point where he knew something wasn’t right.

“We were in the doctor’s office and it felt like I was in free fall,” Rutledge said.

Coping with stress calls on a variety of approaches

It happens at every exam time. He comes home with a pounding headache, plenty of anxiety and pressure on his shoulders.

Studying in the health and sciences program at the University of Toronto, is especially stressful. For Alex Singh, there is only one answer to his stress.

“I make my way into the kitchen, grab a shot glass and pour in some … vodka,” Singh said. “The shots temporarily take me away from my reality.”

Veterinary technician learns to cope with trauma of job

As a professional, Heidi Snutch had seen it all. After years of working in her field, almost nothing surprised her. Then, on a day like any other, a man rushed in with his dog.  He had been doing some yard work at his home, he explained, when one of the branches he was cutting fell on one of his two cocker spaniels. 

“The dog had severe head trauma and was given a very poor prognosis by our critical-care specialist,” Snutch recalled.

The man, who had lost his wife to cancer that same year, begged Snutch to save his beloved pet. With little hope for recovery and lack of financial means, the man brought his other dog in, so they could say goodbye together. 

“I tried to hold back my emotions but failed miserably. I was emotionally drained for the rest of my shift,” she said.  “I couldn’t sleep at night because I kept replaying this instance over and over in my head.”

Film prompts discussion on plight of Syrian refugees

Tasneem Fared, clad in a white bridal dress, tells the story of a horrific night in Syria in the documentary The Bride’s Side. That night, she recalled, she danced away, using music to drown out the sound of exploding bombs, occasionally taking off an earplug to check whether her home had been shelled.

Todmorden Legion event honours legendary member

Angie Gualtieri holds a book in her hands. Tales of Todmorden Veterans by Jack Aldred. It’s obvious this book means a lot to her.

Gualtieri recalls when the roof at her Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden, Branch 10, needed fixing. The branch couldn’t afford to fix it. Jack Aldred, a well-loved member of the branch, stepped up. Proceeds from Aldred’s helped raise money for the roof repairs.

“That’s who (Jack) was,” Gualtieri said. “A great man.”

Author highlights how Marconi ‘shrank’ the world

The year was 1912. On April 15, the sinking RMS Titanic sent out distress signals received by nearby ships. While more than 1,500 died in the sinking, during the next few hours on the North Atlantic, rescue ships picked up more than 700 survivors. Marc Raboy believes there was an upside to the disaster.

“(It) really opened the imagination to the importance of wireless communication,” he said. He credits wireless radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi.

“The world would never be the same again,” Raboy said. “We now had the capacity to do long distance communication.”