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Monday, April 26, 2004

  • Prof in Trinidad hospital after shooting
  • Fire alarms ring tomorrow
  • E3 addition planned; other notes
Chris Redmond

Guernica 1937

[Macdonald at work]

Prof in Trinidad hospital after shooting

Mechanical engineering professor Rob Macdonald (left) is in critical condition in a Trinidad hospital after being shot in the head in a street robbery Thursday night.

Macdonald was in Trinidad for a karate tournament. The newspaper Trinidad and Tobago Newsday tells what happened:

"Reports revealed that around 10 pm, McDonald and seven others were walking to the Hosannah Hotel in St Augustine, after having dinner at a nearby restaurant, when they were confronted by three men. One of the men was armed with a gun.

"He ordered the Canadians to hand over cash, jewelry, cell phones and other valuables. According to the police, the bandits escaped by running away. The Canadians attempted to get a taxi to take them to the St Joseph Police Station, but the car they stopped was being driven by the same gunman and his two accomplices seated in the car. It was at this stage that the gunman pointed the gun at McDonald and shot him in the head at point blank range. A passerby who witnessed the shooting took the injured professor to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he was warded in critical condition. . . .

"McDonald, a father of three, underwent emergency surgery at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital early yesterday, and the bullet, which entered his head, was removed."

The Toronto Star, which had a front-page story yesterday about the shooting, says this morning that three men have been arrested in the case.

The Star had comments about Macdonald from such people at Peter Slawson, now retired from the mech eng department, who was one of his mentors. Macdonald, 43, does research in fluid mechanics and related fields through the Institute for Risk Research and the Waterloo Centre for Atmospheric Sciences. He came to international attention late in 2002 when some of his research on smoke dispersion in urban areas was publicized in the prominent journal Nature.

Says the Globe and Mail this morning: "Reynald Doiron, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said officials of Canada's High Commission in Port of Spain were consulting insurance-company representatives and the hospital to find whether it is possible to bring Prof. Macdonald back to Canada for medical treatment."

Friends of Macdonald and his wife, Kate Kennedy, at First United Church in Waterloo are organizing a fund to help with extraordinary expenses for the three children following the shooting. Details are likely to be announced today.

Fire alarms ring tomorrow

Tomorrow will bring the spring fire drills in most campus buildings, says UW safety director Kevin Stewart. The alarms are held each year in the week between winter and spring terms.

Drills are scheduled in the morning (between 8:15 and 11:00) in Optometry, Health Services, the PAC, the SLC, Modern Languages, Humanities, Environmental Studies I and II, PAS, Needles Hall, Chemistry II, the Dana Porter Library, the Tatham Centre, South Campus Hall, and the General Services and Commissary complex.

After lunch (between 1:15 and 2:30) fire drills will take place in East Campus Hall, Engineering II and III, the Doug Wright building, Carl Pollock Hall, ESC, Physics, the Davis Centre, and CEIT.

Drills won't be held in several buildings -- Math and Computer, Biology I and II, Earth Sciences and Chemistry -- because of recent fire alarms there, Stewart says. And a drill isn't being held in Matthews Hall because of the construction work that's going on.

Along with seeing that people know how to get out of the building smartly when the fire alarm sounds, the Waterloo fire department will be checking on access to buildings for its ever-wider fire trucks. To make sure there's a six-metre (20-foot) clear width on all the access roads, some changes were made following last year's drills, with parking banned along a number of roads where it had traditionally been allowed.

E3 addition planned; other notes

A ground-breaking ceremony will be held this morning for a small addition to Engineering III building. The low-key ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. and is organized by the Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology, based in the civil engineering department, which will use the new space -- a two-storey area totaling about 2,900 square feet. Funding for the addition was provided through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust, which helps to finance the centre's research. Total budget for the project is $955,000, says UW vice-president (administration and finance) Dennis Huber. The work is to be finished early in 2005.

Work officially starts today on brick repairs to the Humanities building -- I noticed that equipment was put in place for the job late last week. "Access will be restricted to the courtyard on the north side and the high area on the south side due to scaffolding," says the plant operations department. The job is expected to continue until about the end of June.

On Friday I mentioned the few food services outlets that are open during this intersession week, and I managed to omit one. The Pastry Plus counter on the first floor of Needles Hall is in operation this week as usual (but will close early on Friday afternoon, presumably for year-end inventory).

PhD theses

Electrical and computer engineering: Leo Jingyu Lee, "Hidden Dynamic Models for Speech Processing Applications." Supervisor, P. Fieguth. Oral defence: Friday, April 30, 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Chemistry: Leanne Beer, "Resonance Stabilized Heterocyclic Thiazylk Radicals." Supervisor, R. T. Oakley. Oral defence: Wednesday, May 5, 2 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

High-Performance Computing Systems and Applications: "An Introduction to SHARCnet, 10:00 to 2:30, Physics room 145.

Employee Wellness Fair presents Ron Ellis, "One Man's Journey Through Depression", 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1350. Tuesday: "Let's Get Physical", 12 noon, "Mindfulness Mediation", 1 p.m., and "Staying Connected in Your Relationships", 7 p.m., all Davis Centre room 1302. Registration: ext. 6264.

Writing workshop at Kitchener Public Library with Renison College professor Judith Miller, 7 p.m.

Waterloo Advisory Council spring meeting tonight (dinner 6:00, Tatham Centre, with keynote speaker Linda Duxbury, Carleton University business school) and all day tomorrow.

Matthews Hall electrical power shutdown, 7 to 11 p.m.

'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People', preview workshop sponsored by UW continuing education office, May 18-19, fee $665, registration online.

Work by UW architecture students will be on show tonight at Kitchener city hall, as a step towards a renewal and housing project in the central area sponsored by four downtown churches. At an event from 5 to 7 p.m. today at city hall, some $5,000 in prizes will be awarded to students for their designs and models for the project. The churches are envisioning a $40 million dollar development on several parcels of church-owned land in the Frederick, Duke, Queen and Weber Street area. Next step: consultants will do a detailed study of the proposed project.

Something that hasn't been in the UW news this spring, for the first time in thirty years, is the high school French contest sponsored by UW's French studies department. The contest has been dropped, says French professor Pat Aplevich, who was its chair for the last few years. The reason: many changes in the environment for French teaching. There are fewer OAC (now "U" level) high school courses in French than there used to be, many of the students who do take French are in immersion programs and so wouldn't be eligible for the contest, teachers are busy, and so on.

The Renison College alumni newsletter is called Renison Reports (though I don't know why it isn't the Moose Call or something, given the number of little pictures of the mighty ruminants throughout). Among announcements in the spring 2004 issue: the Renison board of governors has a new chairman. She is Mary Dunker Guy, a long-time church volunteer and community organizer who chaired the Campaign for Renison in the early 1990s. She takes over from accountant Michael Carty, the board chair for the past ten years.


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