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Morning Brew: A La Cart readies for return, Corey Haim's funeral costs, unemployment puts strain on provincial aid programs, TTC rider charged with voyeurism, luck of the Irish

Another fairer weather season approaches, and Toronto's beleaguered A La Carte food vending program readies for the second of three summers within the pilot program. Really, the program should be either brought to a halt immediately to spare these entrepreneurs from accumulating more debt (which stands at $35,000 for some!), or brought back to the drawing board for a complete overhaul. The City needs to make acquiring and running a food cart business a simple, affordable process. Serving food from a cart, and doing it safely doesn't need to cost this much.

Are Toronto tax payers footing the bill for recently deceased actor Corey Haim's funeral? According to his mother, the City of Toronto will be contributing, but citing policy, City Hall has refused to comment on the rumour. Refusing to dismiss the claim means that it's probably safe to say that there is some truth to it. But would we even be talking about the bill for the funeral if he weren't famous and struggling with ongoing drug abuse problems?

UPDATE (10:24 a.m.): The City of Toronto has issued a press release, stating the following: "The City of Toronto has never received an application for assistance with the funeral costs for Mr. Haim. While the City would normally not confirm or deny the existence of an application for assistance with funeral benefits as this is a matter covered by Privacy regulations; given the number of reports the City has chosen to confirm the facts in this matter."

The economic downturn that held unemployment numbers across the country high for a long time has resulted in a 10.8% increase in welfare caseloads in Ontario as people run out of federal EI benefits and turn to provincial aid programs. This is currently putting strain on the province, who is now looking to the feds for EI allocation changes (i..e with open hands).

A male TTC rider who on more than one occasion is alleged to have gotten friendly with and then taken "upskirt" photos of female passengers, has been arrested and charged with voyeurism. What some people do to get off, eh?

And the 23rd annual St. Patrick's Day parade took to the streets yesterday. The rain subsided just in time, allowing the shamrocks and Leprechauns to stay mostly "dry" until they hit the pubs afterward. On Wednesday, we'll raise a glass of green beer at one of 38 Irish pubs in Toronto.

Photo: "skywalk stroke" by jentse, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.


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