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Morning Brew: Harper Pockets Communion (or Does He?), No More Drugs in Kensington (Really?), Jays Dump BJ Ryan (Halladay Next?)

Photo: "Street Life" by Jim U, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

Pages is closing. Owner Marc Glassman tells NOW Magazine that the city's most-loved bookstore will be closing its doors on August 31st. (Previous coverage)

The garbage is going to keep piling up for a while as the striking unions have made it clear they're not accepting a year-long pay freeze and a mere 1% increase in the second year of any deal. Mayor Miller is trying to stand his ground but after announcing yesterday that the bargaining team has been authorized to be more flexible, so it sounds like it will be the city who bends (or breaks) first in the current stalemate. Good thing we've had unseasonably cool weather; the last thing we need is a string of 30+ degree days right now.

A month-long drug sweep by Toronto police has netted 76 arrests, 200 charges and a pile of drugs from King West and Kensington area drug dealers and buyers. Too bad there weren't a lot of hidden cameras - "Project Escape" sounds like a great reality tv show.

Did he or didn't he? Video from Romeo LeBlanc's funeral shows Stephen Harper receiving a communion wafer and apparently pocketing it, not exactly the proper way to treat his Host. Naturally, Harper's people say he would never do such a thing, but the explanation does not go so far as to shed light on why a Protestant was taking Roman Catholic communion.

The Jays have officially given up on B.J. Ryan, who leapt out of the gate as an ineffective closer, and after wearing out a patch in the bench found his way onto the disabled list. After making B.J. rich, now the Jays are hoping another team picks him up as there are several years and a lot of money left on his deal. More worrisome for Jays fans though is news that the Jays may be giving up not just on the season but on their ability to put a winner around ace Roy Halladay. Buster Olney of predicts we may see Halladay in a Phillies jersey by the end of the month. The Star's Richard Griffin says don't believe everything you hear, but don't count on JP making a great deal, either.

Rouge Valley Health System has been hoodwinked, swindled out of $2 million over the course of 8 years by youth services workers who invoiced, shall we say, generously? A tad over 10 years since the fraud started police nabbed one of their guys, which sort of makes me wonder what made the hospital notice now that something was amiss?

Japanese royalty is in our midst. Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko are in town and staying at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. They'll visit Sick Kids and have shaken hands but I'm more curious if they'll dine at Benihana in the Royal York basement.

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