International News Desk – At Home: No Ticket – Around the World: This Vacation’s the Pits

International News Desk – At Home: No Ticket – Around the World: This Vacation’s the Pits

At Home: No Ticket

With all the congestion of downtown Toronto, it’s no surprise that frustrated residents and visitors resort to illegal parking’and no surprise that they get ticketed for it. What may come as a shock, however, is just how long the ticket process can take.

As the Toronto Star reports, one man has “been waiting for a court date for eight years.” In 2005 he “was ticketed for being too close to a fire hydrant,” but after contesting the ticket years ago, he’s still waiting for a court date to be scheduled.

Toronto is notorious for its “backlog of contested tickets.” A city spokesperson told reporters that most trials occur within 18 months of the ticket’s being issued, but records show that in 2012 “more than 20 per cent of people who contest[ed] their tickets [would] have to wait till next year — or longer.”

Part of the problem is the increased number of ticket recipients who contest their tickets. In 2004, “only 2.5 per cent of parking ticket recipients requested a trial,” whereas in 2012, almost 13 per cent did so. The city is considering a “fixed fine system . . . which would prohibit fine reductions in court and tack on a $12.75 court fee when the trial results in a conviction.”

Around the World: This Vacation’s the Pits

Florida’s known for its theme parks, ecological diversity, and ability to attract disasters. Several vacationers got to experience all three when their resort collapsed into one of the state’s infamous sinkholes.

As CNN reports, guests at a resort near Walt Disney World were “[forced] out of their rooms as one three-story building collapsed and another slowly sank.”

Around 10:30 pm one night, guests “heard loud noises and windows cracking.” Several guests had to “break a window so they could escape,” a witness told reporters, adding that “one woman was sitting in the tub, and the tub levitated, and that’s when she just grabbed a pair of shorts and came out with nothing.”

The sinkhole, 60 feet wide and 15 feet deep, “swallowed much of one building” and damaged another. All guests in the building were evacuated before the building collapsed.

Sinkholes, which frequently “start when bedrock dissolves but the surface of the ground stays intact,” are a problem in a state that already is a magnet for hurricanes and flooding.