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Morning Brew: December 17th, 2008

Photo: "Snow walking on Brunswick Avenue" by ardenstreet, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

We've got snow this morning, and plenty more is coming. The timing couldn't be worse for me... I'm about to drive to Ottawa, in a rental car with "all-season" tires, where a public transit strike is in effect. For future reference, is anyone aware of a car rental company in Toronto that has vehicles with winter tires?

Crime in Toronto is down in 2008, almost across the board (including murder, assault, theft, robbery, etc) and despite troubled economic times - but the number of shooting incidents is up 18%. In Toronto so far this year, 336 people have been shot, a number much higher than I would have guessed.

Canadian Idol will be "resting" for 2009. Despite its serious popularity, CTV just can't sustain the show during the ongoing financial crisis. In the US, American Idol will go on, but will scale back on costs by canceling its annual American Idol Gives Back fundraiser.

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The controversial TTC employee drug testing issue has reared its head again. Bob Kinnear is up to his usual antics, talking tough to the media and making it clear that his union employees "will NOT be tested".

Through community building, specialized services, and perseverance, independent bookstores in Toronto are somehow managing to stave off defeat by the big retailers like Chapters, Indigo, and Amazon. The Star chats briefly with the folks at Pages, David Mirvish Books, Nicholas Hoare, and This Ain't the Rosedale Library.

Charity organizations are also feeling the crunch and the Toronto Children's Breakfast Club is just one example. Donations are down 80% and their charity manager is worried that their operation could collapse completely within 6 months.


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