Prince’s death a shock; singer led clean lifestyle: friend and lawyer L. Londell McMillan

Prince-prince-3577810-1024-768Prince’s longtime lawyer called the death of the superstar a complete shock and said Monday that the singer lived a clean and healthy lifestyle, disputing suggestions that he had a drug addiction.

Prince was found dead in Paisley Park, his home and vast recording studio in Chanhassen, Minn., on Thursday at the age of 57. An autopsy was conducted, but complete results won’t be in for weeks. Police have said there was no indication of suicide.

Lawyer L. Londell McMillan had known Prince for 25 years and at one time was his manager. In a phone interview Monday night, he told The Associated Press he spoke to Prince the Sunday before he died, after it was reported that his plane made an emergency landing to deal with a medical emergency involving the singer.

L. Londell McMillan, seen in Los Angeles in 2009, had known Prince for 25 years and at one time was his manager. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

Prince assured McMillan he was fine.

“He said he was doing perfect,” McMillan recalled. “He said, `OK, I’ll call you soon.”‘

Celebrity website TMZ, citing unidentified sources, reported that Prince was treated for an overdose of the powerful painkiller Percocet while traveling home from concerts in Atlanta last week.

The site said his plane made an emergency landing April 15 in Moline, Ill., where he was briefly hospitalized. Prince had postponed concerts in Atlanta citing an illness but rescheduled them and performed there April 14.

Known for clean lifestyle

Asked about the TMZ report, McMillan said that while Prince may have been in pain and may have taken medication from time to time, he was “not on any drugs that would be any cause for concern.”

“People use medication. The question is, are you on meds in a dangerous way?” he said.

McMillan noted that Prince, a vegan, was known for his clean lifestyle.

“Everybody who knows Prince knows he wasn’t walking around drugged up,” McMillan said. “That’s foolish. No one ever saw Prince and said, . `He looks high.’ . It wasn’t what he was about.”

McMillan also said Prince was in great spirits.

“Prince had an amazing life. He enjoyed life,” he said. “He had a lot of fun.”

McMillan, whose clients also included Michael Jackson, said he owed his career to Prince.

He managed the star amid Prince’s battles with his label, Warner Bros. Records. Prince credited him with coming up with the title “The Artist” when he stopped using his name and took on a symbol instead as part of that battle.

“I’m shocked and overwhelmed,” McMillan said of Prince’s death.

He was among those present for a private and intimate memorial service at Paisley Park on Saturday. Prince was cremated.

“It was a very loving and special, solemn and very appreciative,” McMillan said. “I think he would have been proud of how we celebrated his life.”

Ottawa bus driver praised for helping woman fleeing assault

OC Transpo driver Dan Stoddard says it was just instinct, “it’s just what I should be doing”. During his regular 96 Route around 1am Wednesday, he spotted a young woman at the bus shelter on Katimavik and Castlefrank Roads in Kanata.

“Once I pulled up she didn’t come out and at one o’clock in the morning when it’s the only bus that drives by and when you’re not coming out, clearly there is something wrong.”

Stoddard then convinced the young woman to get on the bus. She was half-naked, in distress and asking for a phone to call for help. Stoddard called transit security and drove the bus to the Eagleson Road park’n’ride.

Once parked, he asked the two other male passengers to go to the back of the bus, and sat at the front with the woman and comforted her until police and transit security arrived.

“She said that she had been assaulted physically and verbally”, Stoddard said, “Beyond that it was just a matter of listening to her story, reassuring her and telling her it wasn’t her fault.”

Brendan Fowlie was one of the two other passengers on board, “people never hear about the good things they do.”

So touched by Stoddard’s actions, Fowlie took a picture of the driver and woman chatting, a photo that has now gone viral. He says drivers, like Stoddard, should be recognized for what the good they do, “they don’t get credit for the good stuff they do, for the safe arrivals.”

When police and transit security arrived, Stoddard said his good-byes to the young woman and finished his route. He hasn’t heard from her since and doesn’t expect to, he just hopes she’s okay. “Do I know what happened specifically? No I don’t. Did she need help? Yes she did. I helped with what I was able to help with. I didn’t go above and beyond, I did what every human should do.”

Courtesy of CTV news Ottawa

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Problems With D.C. Circulator Buses Started With Decision To Hire Private Firm, Union Says

CirculatorWashington, DC’s Circulator bus operators, members of Local 1764, are calling on the City to fire contractor First Transit after exposing the shocking results of an independent safety audit of buses conducted for the District DOT. The report confirmed what workers already knew from their own pre-trip safety checks: 95% of the Circulator buses in service have serious safety problems and should not have been on the road. The Local testified before the DC City Council calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser to investigate First Transit, fix the buses immediately, and allocate money in DDOT’s budget to allow for wage increases to match the wages of WMATA Metrobus operators that they drive beside on DC’s streets. Read more.

How a $15 minimum wage went from fringe to mainstream

15MinimumWageThis week California Governor Jerry Brown announced a deal to make the $15 wage standard throughout the state by 2022. Last year, Democrats in Congress proposed making it the national starting wage, replacing the $7.25 federal minimum that prevails today. None of this would have been possible without the union-conceived “Fight for $15,” drive – a four-year-old effort that’s become Labor’s most effective political campaign. Initiated by the Service Employees and backed by ATU and other unions, the campaign to increase the wages of the lowest paid workers in the United States is bolstering all unions’ efforts to win bigger raises. Read more.

Hampton Roads Transit operators assaulted 96 times in 32 months

Hampton Roads Transit bus drivers are assaulted more often than any others in Virginia, and the transit companyHampton-Jitney wants the area’s prosecutors to start getting tougher on offenders.

It’s not just bus drivers, but passengers who are at risk, HRT President and CEO William Harrell says.

He tried, but failed, to get the General Assembly to demand jail time for such assaults.

But he’s convinced the area’s legislators to sign a letter asking Commonwealth’s Attorneys to seek jail time when operators are assaulted.

HRT operators were assaulted 96 times from January 2013 to September 2015 –more than any other transit service in Virginia during that 32-month timeframe — according to an HRT analysis.

Of those, 11 were physical assaults, and the remaining 85 were either verbal assaults or threats, said Joe Dillard Jr., HRT’s government relations liaison.

In response to the high number of assaults, HRT lobbied the General Assembly to pass legislation that would mandate active jail time for any person convicted of assaulting an operator.

“This would not only protect operators, but citizens across your districts who use public transportation…averaging over 50,000 trips each weekday,” a Feb. 24 memo from HRT President and CEO William E. Harrell to General Assembly members stated.

HRT asked General Assembly members to sign a letter it will send to Commonwealth’s Attorneys in the localities it serves – Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake.