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6/3/2009 in Headline News Bookmark and Share

Schulich grad was on downed Air France flight

York grad Brad Clemes (MBA '92) , 49, was born and raised in southwestern Ontario but had lived overseas for about the last 14 years, wrote The Canadian Press June 2. He's believed to be the only Canadian flying with 228 people on an Airbus A330 that disappeared en route to Paris from Brazil.

The married father of two sons in their 20s was an outgoing world traveller who never sat still, said his mother, Norene Clemes.

"He's one of these people that never sits still, go-go-go, very energetic," Clemes said when reached at her home in Guelph, Ont. "He wanted to live in Europe because he wanted to have his two sons grow up and know the whole world."

Clemes attended Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., and the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Clemes worked in Toronto in the early 1990s before moving abroad to become a marketing manager for Coca-Cola in South Africa. He also worked in Eurasia and the Middle East before eventually settling in Brussels with his wife, Anne.

Air France and Coca-Cola have confirmed Clemes, a more than 21-year employee, was on board the missing plane.

  • In later news reports, Brazilian officials said a swath of wreckage spotted in the Atlantic by military pilots was from the Air France plane, confirming that it had crashed into the sea.

York grad nominated for Griffin and Trillium poetry prizes

This evening, York grad Kevin Connolly (BA Hons. ’85) will recite his poetry for more than 800 people at the University of Toronto, wrote the National Post June 2. It is by far the largest audience to which the 47-year-old poet has read.

"Many poetry readings, half the people in there have been dragged there. Or they're in the bar already and can't get their bill quick enough to get out," he says, nursing a cranberry juice in the back room of Sarah's Cafe, a local bar a few minutes from the home in Toronto's east end that he shares with writer Gil Adamson. "Eight hundred? You don't get the chance to do that as a writer, let alone as a poet. That's going to be fun. I've just got to make sure I don't screw it up."

It goes to show the peculiar place life has taken Connolly. The ninth annual Griffin Poetry Prize ceremony takes place tomorrow night and Connolly's latest collection, Revolver, is up for one of two $50,000 awards.

But who is Kevin Connolly? The native of Maple, Ont., is also the author of the collections Asphalt Cigar (1995), Happyland (2002) and drift (2005), which won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. A former arts journalist, Connolly also works as a freelance copy editor for ECW Press and is the poetry editorial consultant for Coach House Books.

An ambitiously unique collection like Revolver may be one reason why Connolly has often existed "outside the normal bounds of canonical Canadian poetry," as he puts it. "I don't go with Al Purdy, or Leonard Cohen, or Lorna Crozier or people like that." But it's perhaps this very reason why Connolly has found an audience with a younger generation of poets and readers.

Besides the Griffin nod, the day after our interview Connolly was nominated for the $20,000 Trillium Book Award for Poetry. He never envisioned this level of success, and is evidently still not used to it: The day after the Griffin short list was announced, he thought about calling Alana Wilcox, his boss at Coach House Books, to ensure he got a ticket to the reading. He stopped himself from picking up the phone when he remembered one thing: "Of course, I have a pretty good seat as it turns out, right?"

York student awarded for outstanding diabetes management

A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at age eight came as a surprise to Laura Blair, who, at the time, had no idea what it was, wrote Whitby This Week June 1. Blair's efforts to ensure the illness didn't consume her life have proven victorious as she recently became one of 31 students across Ontario to be presented with scholarships by the Diabetes Hope Foundation.

Blair will be putting the $2,500 scholarship toward her first year at York University, paving her way to a bachelor of arts degree. She hopes to eventually pursue a career in social work.

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