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Morning Brew: January 12, 2009

Photo: "malevolence in the mist" by Ned Lyttelton, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

"Hi, I'm Galen Weston. At Loblaw's we have worked hard to right the ship after failing to out-Wal-Mart Wal-Mart but now we're taking a cue from No Frills. Plastic bags will cost 5 cents each, starting today. Our reusable shopping bag will still cost 99 cents. You see, we're going to reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills. But at your expense. Now that's worth switching supermarkets for."

Thanks for the memories, Mel. Reflecting upon this, the 10th anniversary of calling in the army to clear snow, former Mayor Mel Lastman has no regrets. Maybe Toronto needed some help, but if you're gonna round up bison inside city limits, you better expect ridicule, and flashy press conferences are only going to invite more ridicule.

Speaking of heavy snow, what strange economic times. A motor company is shut down, limiting the number of motors being made for snowblowers, which I'd think would be no problem since that's one expense that's hard to justify when you've got an uncertain balance sheet at home. Yet with the big snowstorms on the heels of last year's big snowstorms, snowblowers are sold out - and may not be back on shelves until next winter.

Lots of playground news to report. Our "Main Sewage Treatment Playground" made it to the FAIL Blog. Previously, NOW had the scoop on the park and the actual hazards to throwing around a football in the area. Lastly, the City of Toronto is interested in expanding the smoking ban to include playgrounds. Completely eliminating second-hand smoke from children's lives is a laudable goal, but I think cleaning up the toxic waste is a priority.

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Marion Lyons, the 81 year old grandmother slain in her own condo, was likely killed by somebody she knew, possibly from within her own building. Det.-Sgt. Pauline Gray termed the homicide "vicious" and also cautioned building residents to be "prudent" in who they let into their condos. Later, I hear, the condo association screened a Mr. Rogers marathon and reminded residents not to talk to strangers.

A 22 year old Richmond Hill man, and recent McMaster graduate, won $3 million in a Caribbean poker tournament. Poorya Nazari gained entry to the tournament via PokerStars.com, playing an online tournament with a $33 buy-in. Most mom's don't encourage their sons to play poker, but when you win 100,000 times the cost of entry even Mrs. Nazari is brimming with pride.


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