Morning Brew: February 4th, 2009

Photo: "Power of Flight" by xarq, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

The debate over the safety and appropriate use of tasers is back in the limelight, this time regarding the use of the device on young people. The OPP are being taking to court over an incident involving a 14-year old girl being tasered in a jail cell Northern Ontario, after she refused to stop peeling paint from the cell wall. The province's child advocate is calling for an outright ban on taser use on kids.

17 people are left homeless, one woman has died, and a man is being hailed as a hero for catching a toddler dropped from the burning building. Yesterday's Queen East housing complex fire reminds us that when tragedy strikes, people pull together.

Toronto residents living in older homes with confirmed elevated levels of lead in their water supply are furious due to the way the city has been dealing with the problem. Complaints that the risks have not been communicated to affected residents are leaving the city in a bit of a scramble to get the word out more effectively.


A gang of suspected thieves that focuses on stealing heavy equipment like backhoes and bulldozers from construction sites in the GTA has been busted and 20 vehicles recovered. Whether or not the punishment will be "as tough as the kids who drive 'em" is yet to be seen.

Stop and give yourself a pat on the back, for helping to make the life of the good folks of Michigan a little less... stinky. The proof is in the number of trucks full of crap we've been sending down to landfill in the US, which has been cut in half since 2003. The blue/grey/green bin garbage and recycling programs appear to be working magic on waste diversion from landfill.

But we may end up paying through the teeth to make up for the shortfall Toronto will see due to the major crash in recyclable commodities pricing. Margarine tubs were selling for $295 a tonne in September but no are going for just $6 per tonne. If you have tonnes of storage space, collecting used plastics could represent a smart buy-low-sell-high investment (assuming a future recovery of value).

And if you're a Facebook, TTC, and mobile phone user, here's some good news. You can set up your Facebook account to automatically send you TTC service alerts to your mobile phone by SMS. Check out this handy step-by-step how-to.

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