Winter Toronto

Morning Brew: TTC driver caught texting while driving, Councillor Adam Vaughan says frats are terrorizing the Annex, the Harmony Dinner pays off, another G20 investigation reopened, and Waffle-Thrower has charges dropped but is still banned by MLSE

Here we go again. It was around this time last year when a photo of a sleeping TTC booth operator ignited a furious feud between TTC customers and TTC workers. It's a new year and a new photo: this time, it's one of a TTC bus driver caught texting while driving. The shot, taken on a 165 Weston Rd. North bus that was "full of people" by Mike Schmitz on his iPhone, shows the driver focused on the device, and the orange needle of the bus speedometer pointing upwards. "This is a serious breach of public safety," TTC spokesman Brad Ross said, adding that drivers are not allowed to talk on cellphones or text even while the vehicle is stopped. "We will undertake an internal investigation to identify the (driver) and take disciplinary action." Did we express concern about something like this just a few days ago?

Councillor Adam Vaughan says a small group of fraternities are "terrorizing" the Annex. From holding bonfires in the street, to yelling "rape" in the middle of the night to see who can get the most homes to turn on their lights (plus a "litany" of other issues), these alleged transgressions have the local councillor hell bent on regulating them. By classifying some fraternities and sororities as rooming houses, there's the chance to impose rules and give licensing officials the right to inspect the "frequent fliers."

This might make Snooki think twice before eating her favourite snack. Toronto police allege opium was being produced in the shape of cucumbers and being shipped to the country inside pickle jars. Several people have been arrested and charged with drug-related offences after police busted a major drug smuggling ring in the GTA. The investigation, known to police as Project Khiar ("khiar" is cucumber in Farsi), began in December 2010 after police were tipped off about the opium cucumbers.The drug shipments originated in Iran and were moved through different ports in Europe before arriving in Canada.

Looks like that cheesy photo paid off after all. The Harmony Dinner that reunited mayoral candidates for the common cause of erasing campaign debt was a success. More than 700 tickets were sold for the joint fundraiser, and over $1 million was raised. Election fundraising laws prevent the ex-candidates from splitting the pot evenly, so each got the proceeds of tickets they had sold.

Another investigation of a man suffering injuries during his arrest at the G20 is being reopened by the Special Investigations Unit. Joseph Thomson, 34, was arrested on June 26 in the Queen and Spadina area during an assembly of G20 demonstrators after interfering with a friend's arrest and somehow ended up with a fractured nose. The SIU conducted an investigation, but said in November that it found no basis to conclude that the officer had used "excessive force." However, SIU director Ian Scott says the probe has been reopened as a result of reviewing video of the incident and examining a number of still images.


Photo by Subjective Art in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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