Day: July 6, 2019

Man arrested in Oregon in death of original Mouseketeer

MEDFORD, Ore. — Authorities in Oregon have arrested a man in the death of an original member of Disney’s “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

Daniel James Burda, 36, was taken into custody Friday on suspicion of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, abuse of a corpse, criminal mistreatment and identity theft in the death of Dennis Day, Oregon State Police said.

Burda was being held in Jackson County Jail, where records show he had been booked on June 26 for violating probation on a previous robbery charge.

It was unclear if he has an attorney.

Neighbours say Burda had lived with Day and his husband in southern Oregon. Police declined to provide more details and couldn’t immediately be reached for additional comment.

Day, 76, was a founding member of the Mickey Mouse Club for two seasons in the 1950s.

In February, members of Day’s family spoke with “Dateline,” a television news show, and said the investigation into Day’s disappearance had been poorly handled.

Day was first reported missing last July 15 by his husband, Ernie Caswell, who has memory loss.

Day’s car was later found at the Oregon coast and a missing person report said Day had uncharacteristically left his dog with a friend on the day he disappeared.

In April, police discovered a body at the couple’s Phoenix, Oregon, home. Authorities identified the body as that of Day last month, though they were unable to use dental records or DNA due to the condition of the remains.

Day was born in 1942. After moving to California, he began performing at age 6. When he was 10, he was among the first children hired for “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

Day and Caswell moved to Oregon in the 1980s and married in Ashland in 2009.

The Associated Press

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Grange: It may be over, but it was as fun as it gets

It was fun while it lasted.

So fun. But nothing is forever, except the memories from a season no one will forget, delivered by a player unlike any other the Toronto Raptors have ever had, or likely ever will.

They simply don’t come around very often.

But no one will forget how the Kawhi Leonard era ended either — with a pair of bombshells delivered in the wee hours of the night:

First, that Leonard was signing with the Los Angeles Clippers and then that he was going to be teaming up with Paul George, who he recruited to join him as the Clippers orchestrated a massive trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The news was delivered by a few NBA Insiders in the early hours of Saturday morning as the NBA’s landscape had shifted once again.

And as a corollary: Raptors guard Danny Green – who came to Toronto with Leonard in the trade with San Antonio last summer – announced that he was signing with the Los Angeles Lakers on a reported two-year deal for $30 million.

The thunderbolts of news ended a frenzied six days of speculation about Leonard’s free agency plans that included the minute-by-minute tracking of private jets by Twitter sleuths and news helicopters following SUV convoys as Toronto and the NBA at-large waited for word from the man who says not much.

They also marked the official end of a spectacular 12-month ride for Raptors fans that was more thrilling than anyone reasonably could have been expecting.

Even as Leonard and the Raptors proved to be elite, it was difficult to imagine them actually winning a title – the field was deep, the Raptors were a newly-constructed team and Toronto had never done it before.

But Leonard wouldn’t be denied and carried his team, the city and — by the end of the playoff run – the entire country on his impossibly broad shoulders.

And now all at once Raptors fans have thrust upon them an almost existential challenge: to revel in the joy of a two-month march to the Raptors’ first NBA title even as they have to cope with the grief over losing the player most responsible for making it happen.

“It’s been a hell of a run, a hell of a year,” Green said on Instagram when announcing his own move. “[But] it’s been unfortunate how things have turned out for the city of Toronto and Canada [that] we couldn’t run it back.”

The hope was the perfect ending to Leonard’s season with the Raptors would be enough to convince him to stay, to make the California kid want to make Canada his basketball home after he returned to peak form under Toronto’s careful ‘load management’ strategy and won his second NBA championship.

“I always feel confident. Our organization feels confident. And we do feel confident that he will [re-sign],” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said at his season-ending media availability on June 25th. “… I’m glad we got him for the year. I said this to you guys, we have to be ourselves. And we were ourselves the whole year. I think he saw that, I think we built a trust there …”

But it was hope against hope: from the moment that Leonard was acquired it was hard to shake the feeling that it was all temporary; that the perennial MVP candidate would just be passing through.

The expectation was always that Leonard would make his way to Los Angeles, where the sun always shines and where he can play out the rest of his prime close to home and friends and family with either one of the city’s two NBA franchises.

The Clippers stalked Leonard all season in Toronto to the point where the Raptors had to complain to the league about the passive-aggressive, borderline tampering-type tactics.

And the Lakers were the Lakers, the franchise that always seemed to get what they want, whether they deserve it or not.

And now Leonard has made it back to LA, but not after a detour though Toronto that changed Canadian sports history and left a legacy that likely won’t be fully appreciated for decades to come.

If Vince Carter could help inspire a generation of basketball talent with his meteoric pass across the Canadian sports landscape 20 years ago, what will Leonard and the Raptors championship season do?

Leonard didn’t leave Toronto for money – the reported four-year, $142-million contract he signed with the Clippers is less than the five-year, $190-million deal the Raptors could give him.

And he didn’t do it because he couldn’t win here: Leonard running it back in Toronto would’ve likely provided a clearer path to the NBA Finals than in a more top-heavy Western Conference.

And he didn’t do it the easy way – instead of teaming up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to form the next super team with the Lakers, Leonard will be sharing STAPLES Center with LA’s glamour franchise, trying to knock the Lakers off their pre-ordained perch.

The urge to go home is one anyone can understand and hard to begrudge.

Leonard in LA had always seemed the natural order of things. It’s where he’s from; it’s where superstars seem to go, when summoned, like moths to light.

But Raptors president Masai Ujiri interrupted things. Ujiri and Leonard proved that the spotlight could shine on Toronto too. Ujiri said you could win a championship in Toronto, and with Leonard’s help, he was proven right.

Leonard leaving closes the chapter that began when Ujiri traded Raptors icon DeMar DeRozan, young big man Jakob Poeltl and the rights to Toronto’s first-round pick for Leonard, who was coming off an injury-plagued 2017-18 season that had limited him to nine games and precipitated his divorce from San Antonio.

There was mystery then as well: Would Leonard even report to Toronto? Would he be healthy enough to play?

Would he use his season here merely to prove he was healthy only to shut it down and await free agency?

Over the course of the season the concerns melted away and Leonard emerged as one of the best players in the NBA again.

In leading the Raptors to their championship and earning his second Finals MVP award, Leonard proved himself as quite possibly the best.

He put together a playoff run for the ages, leading the post-season tournament in total minutes played, points, rebounds and steals while averaging 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 3.9 assists and shooting 49 per cent from the floor.

Not the most talkative type, Leonard proved his commitment and his priorities on the floor.

His list of signature plays was long and varied, but perhaps no moment was more significant than an off day between Games 3 and 4 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Down 0-2 against the Bucks, Leonard willed himself to a career-high 52 minutes in a must-win Game 3, including 22 straight in the fourth quarter and through two over-time periods. He clinched the win by scoring eight of his 36 points in the second overtime.

But he was laboring, twice seeming to favour his knee and his leg.

It wasn’t clear he’d be available for an equally important Game 4 less than 40 hours away but Leonard laid that to rest with a text to Ujiri early on the off day insisting that he would play in Game 4, and he did as the Raptors went on to win four straight against the top-seeded Bucks.

Otherwise, there were almost too many highlights to count.

His four-bounce series-clinching shot against Philadelphia was the first walk-off Game 7 winner in NBA history and it instantly entered the league’s pantheon of unforgettable moments.

His flying left-handed dunk over Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the fourth quarter of Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals helped clinched the Raptors’ first NBA Finals appearance and unleashed 24 years of pent-up joy.

When Raptors head coach Nick Nurse tried to encourage his team after they dropped Game 2 at home in the Finals against the Golden State Warriors, he told them all they needed to do was go to Oakland and win one game to get home court advantage back. Leonard famously replied: “F*** that, let’s get both.”

And then Leonard led the Raptors into Oracle Arena and averaged 33 points, 9.5 rebounds and three steals on 51 per cent shooting over two games as the Raptors did just that.

His brilliance and the Raptors success unleashed a passion and celebration almost like nothing Toronto or Canada has ever seen around sports, let alone around basketball.

The television ratings were staggering – 15.9-million Canadians watched some of the Raptors championship-clinching win in Game 6 and an average of 7.7-million watched the game at any moment. It was the most-watched broadcast of any kind in Canada in more than four years and the 11th most-watched of all time. The 10 ahead of it? Eight from various Olympics; Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and the 2015 Super Bowl.

The championship parade through downtown Toronto on June 17 was another jaw dropper, with two million or more people estimated to have jammed city streets, nearly overwhelming the parade itself and almost pushing the city to its breaking point.

Leonard stole the show there too with his walk-off “Ha, ha, ha” laugh, a play on the memes that sprung up over his awkward laugh at his first press conference, the one where he told the world he was a ‘fun guy’ in his trademark deadpan.

If Leonard landing in Los Angeles always had an air of inevitability to it, it is fair to wonder if the Raptors truly ever had a chance.

Was Leonard wearing a Toronto Blue Jays jersey on vacation just a tease?

One day, we may find out but league sources said that the Raptors did believe they were in the driver’s seat until late in the process, which would seem consistent with Leonard using MLSE’s executive jet to fly from Los Angeles to Toronto on Wednesday for his meeting with Ujiri and Raptors general manager Bobby Webster. He remained in Toronto until Thursday night, according to sources, and put some time in with Drake as well.

And then he went home, with the news of his decision finally coming out in the wee hours of the morning as Leonard texted his Raptors teammates to let them know of his decision:

He was gone.

His record in Toronto will forever remain perfect, and likely unmatched: one season, one title.

Enough memories for a lifetime.

Now all that’s left to do is for the Raptors to retire No.2. To hang it from the rafters.

Out front at Scotiabank Arena they should build the man a statue, but make sure he’s smiling, reflecting the millions of smiles he put on millions of faces over the course of a season no one can say they saw coming.

It may be over, but it was as fun as it gets.

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Quebec To Invest $70 Million Towards Helping Immigrants Learn French

MONTREAL — Quebec announced tens of millions of new dollars Friday aimed at getting more newcomers to learn French.

One of the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s main pitches to get elected last fall was to temporarily reduce immigration and ensure the newcomers who are accepted can integrate by learning the province’s only official language.

Not only are French classes free for immigrants in Quebec, but the state pays them to take the courses. It also subsidizes daycare costs for immigrant parents who study French.

Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette told reporters Friday he’s sweetening the pot to gently push more newcomers to register for courses.

Simon Jolin-Barrette speaks at a news conference at the legislature in Quebec City on March 28, 2019.

His department will spend an extra $70 million a year, he said, to create 300 new classes, hire 80 more teachers, and increase the weekly stipend for people who take full-time courses from $141 to $185.

Immigrants who take part-time French will now receive $15 a day, up from nothing.

“Your government is showing beyond any doubt its determination and its desire to reform the immigration system,” Jolin-Barrette said during a news conference. “The government of Quebec is very serious in its approach … the knowledge of French by immigrants ensures the success of all of society.”

Bill 9

Absent in the minister’s announcement was the other, less generous component of the government’s immigration strategy. The Coalition also ran last fall on a promise to refuse residency certificates to those who fail a French-language test within three years of arriving.

Obtaining that document, known as the Certificat de selection du Quebec, is essential to receiving permanent residency status by the federal government.

Quebec adopted Bill 9 before the summer recess, creating a legal framework allowing the province to be more restrictive regarding who gets to come to Quebec and who gets to stay. Bill 9 didn’t include specific regulations about the promised French-language tests and the government has yet to announce them.

Subsidized classes

Jolin-Barrette said state-subsidized French classes will now be accessible to all immigrants, regardless of how long they have been in the province. Before Friday’s announcement, newcomers weren’t eligible for free classes after five years.

The classes will now be offered to temporary foreign workers and foreign students — as well as their spouses. Daycare subsidies for part-time French students will increase from $7 to $9 per day, per child. The money given to parents taking full-time courses remains the same, at $25 per day per child.

Jolin-Barrette estimated about 4,500 more immigrants a year will take advantage of the free classes.

Anait Aleksanian, executive director of an immigrant resource centre in Montreal offering French-language classes, said she is “rejoicing” at Friday’s news.

“They have put in place all the conditions for immigrants to learn French,” she said in an interview. “I don’t really know what else they could do.”

Also on HuffPost:

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Immigrants fired from Trump clubs seek White House meeting

NEW YORK — A group of immigrant workers fired from President Donald Trump’s golf clubs say they want to meet with him at the White House to make the case that they should not be deported.

The 21 maids, groundskeepers and other workers fired earlier this year from five of Trump’s clubs asked their former employer in a letter this week to remember all their hard work and give them a chance to make their case in person why they should stay in the country.

“I’m hopeful that he’ll look at the letter. I believe he has a heart,” said Gabriel Sedano, who worked for 14 years as a handyman at Trump’s club in Westchester County, New York, before he was fired in January.

The response on White House stationery Wednesday, in what appeared to be a form letter, assured the workers that “we are reviewing your message.” The White House didn’t respond Friday to a request for further comment.

The troubles for Trump workers started in December when a maid who had made the president’s bed at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, told The New York Times that a supervisor there knew she and other housekeepers and workers were in the country illegally, and used their status against them if they complained about working conditions.

Then other workers at other Trump clubs without proper documents — some employed by him for a decade or more — began speaking out, and the Trump Organization began rounds of firings.

The Trump Organization has said it does not tolerate workers who lie about their status and only recently discovered its workers were in the country illegally. It did not respond to requests for comment about the proposed White House meeting.

Democrats in Congress requested earlier this year that the FBI look into whether the Trump Organization acted as a “criminal enterprise” by knowingly hiring workers with false documents and even helping them procure such papers, as some fired workers have claimed.

A lawyer for 39 former Trump workers, Anibal Romero, said he has been interviewed by the FBI as well as the offices of attorneys general in New Jersey and New York, though he declined to talk about what was discussed.

The letter from the workers said the president knows many of them and asked him to “do the right thing” and “not deport us and our friends and family.”

“You know we are hard workers and that we are not criminals or seeking a free ride in America,” the letter said. “We all pay our taxes, love our faith and our family, and simply want to find a place for ourselves to make America even better.”

Former club handyman Sedano said he couldn’t believe it when he was fired in January because he was a trusted employee who was asked to do work on Eric Trump’s house nearby, and given access to come and go as he pleased.

“I had keys to the house, all the codes. I knew him personally,” said Sedano, who has three children in the U.S., the youngest 8. He added: “I was the first one fired. There was a list. I was the first one.”

Bernard Condon, The Associated Press

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