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Morning Brew: Toronto police crack down on texting while driving, York region averts bus strike, Mayor Hazel turns 90, Arcade Fire wins Best Album of the Year and students dissatisfied with Ryerson profs

If you still talk or text while driving (tsk, tsk), you're not alone. A year after a law prohibiting cell phone usage while driving was put into place, 17,000 charges have been laid. So now, Toronto Police are cracking down with a new campaign starting today. With its snappy-yet-horrifying title, Last Call: Whatever You Have To Say Can Wait, will target drivers who talk, text, type, dial or e-mail using handheld cellphones or other communication and entertainment devices. Drivers who are distracted by electronic devices are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash. They are four times more likely to have an accident if they are talking on a cellphone.

The bus strike in York Region has been averted after union officials and transit operators reached a deal before midnight. "We're not pleased," ATU Local 113 president Bob Kinnear said after announcing the deal. "I don't think any time you come out of bargaining with an employer that is more interested in profitability then the general public that you come out of it happy." Despite the agreement, Kinnear said, union members are frustrated with Veolia Transportation Services Canada and that would continue to be a problem even if the deal is ratified.The details of the agreement will go out to members and there could be a vote on Tuesday.

In today's Star, new Toronto city councillor, Josh Matlow, gives us a glimpse of how Toronto councillors speak up or cast votes while in session. The device is a series of buttons that looks like something straight out of the old Star Trek series. It's red for "no" and green for "yes"--sounds simple enough, but Matlow says it's amazing how many times councillors get "confused."

Happy Birthday, Hazel! Mississauga Mayor Hazel "Hurricane" McCallion turned 90 years old, Monday. McCallion, who was born in 1921, became mayor of Mississauga in 1978, and has been re-elected ever since, making her the longest-serving mayor in Canada.

How does this happen? A Mississauga man, Nubarak Nubarak, found a watch in a 20-kilogram bag of Redpath sugar. "I just dumped it out into a container for coffee and things and it just fell out," said Nubarak, who added, "I was shocked, I didn't know what to do." Quality assurance staff at Redpath have been notified and they have contacted Nubarak to investigate the matter. I guess the people at Redpath actually want you to watch your sugar intake.

IN BRIEF:

Photo by Scott Snider in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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